Fear the Reaper

Mary Noonan writes: Re. "HIV is increasing -- but the Grim Reaper ad wouldn't help" (yesterday). Who said shock tactics don't work? I think "fear" is one of advertisers' main tools myself (think graphic photos on ciggie  boxes). When something's presented in a serious manner with undertones of caution, funnily enough I don't get defensive and think, "That won't happen to me". Why would I think, "She'll be right, even though I'm indulging in that behavior, nothing untoward will happen to me 'cause I'm bullet-proof"? That just doesn't make any sense to me at all.