Finnish PSA: What If Kids Could Pick Their Parents?

A Finnish public service announcement flips the script on adoption, posing the question of what would happen if children could choose their parents.

Finland-based children’s charity Fragile Childhood has again teamed up with Helsinki ad agency Havas Worldwide to produce a chilling study on parental alcoholism. The two groups collaborated a couple years ago for a PSA depicting drunk parents as horror-movie monsters. This new spot is less in-your-face, but is every bit as effective.

The ad follows two children as they tour an ‘orphanage’ of parents. They are first shown three sets of ideal parents, before a fourth couple appears, this one drunken and shouting. Of course, children can’t choose their parents, and the kids are forced to accompany their abusive, alcoholic parents back home.

Adding to the spot’s unsettling nature is the quasi-futuristic art design that depicts the ‘parental orphanage’ as a sort of cavernous observation laboratory. It’s quite clearly meant to make the viewer feel a sense of foreignness and discomfort, and it works.

I’m a big fan of these ads for that very reason – they make the viewer uneasy about topics that should make everyone feel that way. Contrast these with American PSAs, which are usually brightly lit affairs stuffed to the gills with celebrities. Which ones do you pay more attention to?

We’ll probably never see PSAs like this in the US, because American PSAs are usually just excuses for famous people to feel good about themselves. The message itself is nearly always secondary. It’s nice to see that isn’t the case everywhere else.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts


5 thoughts on “Finnish PSA: What If Kids Could Pick Their Parents?

  1. BRENT P. MAPLES says:

    I’m also a big fan of these ads. Finnish PSA’s are usually very cool. So, thank you Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts for this awesome article. But can you imagine a world where kids really do pick their own parents? Candy for days. No limits. And who tell anyone to wash behind ears. Could be a really cool movie.


    Nice work here, Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts!

    Letting kids choose their parents? Let the flood gates open. But how smart of a public relations and marketing campaign to garner buzz and awareness from adults and children alike. Some PSA’s can be so boring. But this PSA scored big time.

  3. SUNIL says:

    Hey, this is Sunil as your regular reader. First of all thanks for sharing this wonderful post on “What If Kids Could Pick Their Parents”. Well a world where kids should able to pick their own parents leads to massive disaster! I think kids are given more freedom as before. Great work Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts and thumbs up.

  4. STEVEN DAVIS says:

    Dare I Say: Previous research has shown that every fourth Finnish child has suffered some harm or emotional disturbance because of parent’s alcohol usage. Research carried out among Finnish teenagers aged 12-18 years shows that children think that their parents ought not to drink at home and that they are much nicer when sober. Thanks Howard Davidson Arlington MA for sharing.

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