YMCA ADHD Stigma Ad Interview

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Pete Quily Interviewed on CBC Vancouver’s Early Edition on the Vancouver YMCA’S ADHD Stigma Ad.

I’ve created a separate comprehensive blog post on the Vancouver YMCA ADHD stigma ad controversy. You might want to have a look at it as background

Photo of the ad. This will just be for the CBC interview.

 Vancouver YMCA'S ADHD Stigma

Transcript of Interview on YMCA ADHD Stigma Ad with CBC Vancouver Early Edition host Rick Cluff Interviewing Pete Quily and Charlene Giovannetti-King the Vice President of Funds Development for the Vancouver YMCA April 21st 2010 approx 8.12am

Rick Cluff: The YMCA has pulled a newspaper ad over complaints that it trivialized ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The ad shows kids wearing sports gear lined up in a gym and the caption reads “ Before video games, before Facebook, before Ritalin, there was basketball”. Pete Quily used the chair of a support group for families dealing with ADHD in Vancouver. This was his reaction to the advertisement.

Pete Quily: Video games and Facebook, those are voluntary activities right, you can use them or not use them. Ritalin is a prescription medication that’s, one of the useful treatments for ADHD, they are implying that they are the same and I mean, would you say it to a diabetic, you don’t need insulin, all you need to do is join the YMCA and play basketball. It almost seems that they are sort of trying to stigmatize ADHD to sort of market their programs.

Rick Cluff: Pete Quily, the Chair of the Vancouver ADHD Support group he was reacting to that advertisement for the YMCA.

(PQ Clarification I’m on the board for CHADD Vancouver and the leader of the Vancouver Adult ADD support group in this interview I’m speaking on behalf of CHADD Vancouver. On my website, blog and twitter I’m speaking for myself)

Charlene Giovannetti-King is the Vice President of Funds Development for the YMCA and is on the line with us now, good morning.

Charlene Giovannetti-King: Good morning.

Rick Cluff: The ad has been pulled.

Charlene Giovannetti-King: The ad has been pulled.

Rick Cluff: And why?

Charlene Giovannetti-King: We pulled the ad because we received a telephone call from a parent who expressed concern about the ad and immediately we pulled that ad because we understood the concern. Although that was not our message, our message was really to encourage people to think about living a balanced lifestyle.

Rick Cluff: Where did the concept come from?

Charlene Giovannetti-King: This is a concept that came from a campaign that we are working on and that we are giving out in the community and sharing in the community and it was just one in a series of ads that we’ve been running.

Rick Cluff: You are trying to portray an image of a balanced lifestyle.

Charlene Giovannetti-King: That’s right.

Rick Cluff: But Mr. Quily says your ad trivializes and stigmatizes ADHD. What are your thoughts now on his assessment of the advertisement?

Charlene Giovannetti-King: We certainly didn’t intend that and we are extremely apologetic if we have offended anybody by that ad therefore, that’s why we pulled the ad instantly as soon as we heard from the parent who expressed concern. We certainly understood the concern and wanted to respond to that very quickly and we did so within 24 hours.

Rick Cluff: So you pulled the ad, did your organization admit to making a mistake here?

Charlene Giovannetti-King: We don’t see this really as a mistake, we see this as our organization is inclusive and open to everyone. We see this as us being responsive to the concern.

Rick Cluff: Was there a formal apology made?

Charlene Giovannetti-King: There was. Both a formal apology to the two people that we heard from. From the mom who phoned and expressed her concern and also to Mr, Quily, we formally apologized to him over the weekend.

Rick Cluff: So what are you replacing this ad with now?

Charlene Giovannetti-King: We continue to run a series of ads and one of the other ads for example is, focuses on camp and the caption on that ad is, “A great leader requires patience, a sense of humor and an appetite for marshmallows” So from that you can tell that the series of ads is really to invoke some conversation and to invoke some interest in people and the community around getting back to their, our values and getting back to a bit, a healthy lifestyle.

Rick Cluff: Charlene, thanks for your time.

Charlene Giovannetti-King: Thanks so much for calling and including us.

Rick Cluff: Charlene Giovannetti-King, the Vice President of the Funds Development for the YMCA. Now the organization has dropped the ad with the slogan.

What are your thoughts on this and how this advertising campaign was conceived and delivered?

You can call us with your thoughts at 604-662-6690 or send us an email to let us know, our email address is earlyed@cbc.ca

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