Epic PSA Fail: Electric Zoo’s “Come to Life”
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Just when you thought the days of cheesy public service announcements were over, another one comes to the masses to make everyone giggle a little. Last year, tragedy struck when an attendee of Electric Zoo in New York City died from an overdose of sketchy MDMA. The whole country went up in arms about drug use at electronic music festivals. The public seemed to be watching over any and all electronic shows with a magnifying glass, with EZoo being the festival under fire. Other festivals, and even specific artists, were criticized for the number of people being hospitalized at their shows.
While we all want people to be safe when they party, the scrutiny has become unfair and biased. People do stupid things at all kinds of shows, not just electronic ones. But, in order to keep EZoo from being pegged “the festival that kills people,” they have come up with a plan. The organizers of Electric Zoo have come out with a public service announcement to discourage attendees from doing MDMA at the festival. They named it “Come to Life,” and it is mandatory to watch before activating your wristband. While I see what EZoo is trying to do here (cover their asses), they didn’t exactly hit the nail on the head.
The Electric Zoo PSA shows a guy and a girl in the crowd at a festival. The guy has a comically large baggie of white powder, which he is vigorously rubbing into his gums (in real life, doing this with MDMA could give your gums serious chemical burns). He asks his friend if she wants some Molly, but she kindly refuses with an uncomfortable look on her face. Immediately, the guy is sweating profusely and dancing. He then proceeds to talk about how he’s feeling. The lights are great; he feels like everyone is connected; he wants to touch the girl’s hair; he sees everyone as beautiful, and he just wants to dance. After witnessing this, the girl suggests that he has some water or finds his other friends. After he ignores this, she slowly backs away into the crowd with a concerned look on her face, leaving her rolling friend to his own devices. Then a black screen pops up: “Don’t miss the moment, be present, come to life.”
This public service announcement does not deter me from doing Molly in the least. Not saying that I would partake in any sort of activity, but if I didn’t know any better, “Come to Life” would not change my mind. This public service announcement doesn’t teach anyone anything, nor does it help anyone see the true danger in taking suspicious drugs. This guy clearly has good stuff, and it does exactly what it’s meant to do. The lights are intense; he feels an overwhelming presence around him; he wants to engage with the life around him, and he wants to dance. The effects of Molly portrayed in this PSA are accurate, but not deterring. Beyond being really sweaty and kind of haphazard, this guy actually seems to be having a blast. His actions are not what alienate his friend; it’s her actions that succeed in doing so. Even in her concern for this guy, she does not call for any type of paramedic or authority. In fact, she simply walks away from the entire situation in which she was so afraid. She doesn’t go get the water she wants him to drink, nor does she try and find his other friends. Just like a negligent person at a festival where someone gets hurt, she gets uncomfortable and turns a blind eye. This is exactly what should not happen when someone fears for another’s safety.
Besides making viewers feel uncomfortable, this PSA teaches EZoo attendees absolutely nothing. The acting is cheesy, the message is far-fetched, and it probably makes more people laugh than feel scared. Comments on YouTube for the video have been disabled, but I’d like to see what other festival attendees have to say about it. This PSA is an attempt to make the festival safer, but in my opinion, it’s one of the biggest PSA fails in electronic history.