In a Louisiana Department of Health ad, a man dressed as "Sammy the Stork" warns women to take better care of their health. Not for their own benefit really, but because they could be pregnant and not know it.
The ad above is part of the "Stork Reality" campaign, which is funded by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital's Partners for Healthy Babies program. According to the website, the program was started in the 1990s because about 10 percent of all babies in Louisiana had a low birth weight and many died in infancy. While certainly the state health department should be working to reduce the infant mortality rate, the Stork Reality program's approach is bizarre. "Healthy pregnancy" isn't the first thing that springs to mind when you see a giant stork complaining next to a pond full of ducks. As AdRants points out, "The importance of the message (which is very important) is lost on the ridiculousness of the delivery mechanism."
Then there's the campaign's suggestion that women should stay healthy mainly because they're all potential baby vessels. The first tidbit of health information presented on the Stork Reality website is:
OVER 50% OF PREGNANCIES ARE UNPLANNED
The first 17-54 days are extremely important to a baby's development and most women don't find out they're pregnant until 4-8 weeks AFTER they become pregnant. So its important to be healthy, just in case.
In addition to the ads, Sammy the Stork has been showing up in public places around Louisiana to spread his message.
The ad above shows one of these public demonstrations, in which Sammy walks into a Mexican restaurant, points to half the women in the room and announces that they're probably pregnant, "so you might want to cut back on the alcohol, eat more leafy vegetables and exercise more regularly."
Since unplanned pregnancies are such a huge health concern, you'd think the Stork Reality website would at least mention that safer sex can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Instead, Sammy makes it sound like half of all women will just catch a fetus while walking down the street. On the site's list of warnings about women's health, the only birth control method mentioned is a condom, and then it's only because chlamydia can lead to a low birth weight if the mother's disease goes untreated. Rather than having a mythical baby-delivering stork spread the message that women should consider themselves potentially pregnant at all times, maybe the Louisiana Department of Health should fund some ads that explain where pregnant women can get cheap pre-natal care and how unwanted pregnancies can be prevented.