Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Social ads??? (english version)

On adverbox I found this campaign that many voted positively; we, instead, consider it deceiving.

These social advertising campaigns are aim to inform the people in general about the serious problems that afflict the third world’s poor countries.

Campaigns that almost always have a limited or very limited budget, where to the necessity, fundamental, of to get the attention and to cause an answer in the reader-spectator, unites the obligation of carrying it out with the minimum of resources possible.
Here is where the alchemy between a good idea and an effective use of the resources originates an effective campaign.

But, this alone it’s not enough if the good idea lacks a fundamental element in issues that involve the neighbour’s suffering: sensibility.

For the same nature of the profession, the world of advertising resort to a superficial, sensational focus almost constantly, and the publicist (as a quality sine qua non of its condition) is in an eternal search of the brilliant and the cool.

Arriving to the point, an appropriate sensibility on the topic seems to be the missing element in this ad.

This guerrilla marketing campaign has been carried out in Spain to alert about the small amount of money is needed to daily feed a child of the third world.

As we can observe in the photo, the boy's mouth coincides with the slot to introduce a coin and free a shopping cart.


What is wrong if the important thing is help the public to become aware of the problem, the idea seems "cool" and original, etc..?

That it contains a reading level totally inappropriate. Which is? That banalize a problem and the value of a charitable act.

Instead of understanding on the problem, is desensitization after a not well achieved advertising idea, and it would seem to be example of as the "cool idea" has prevailed over the true objective.
A different issue is why the association or group thought this message was appropriate.


To begin, the children’s faces aren’t represented through a picture but using a similar resource to the poster; this gives them a certain "non-real, cartoon appearance", disconnecting emotionally the receiver from the beginning.

It uses three ethnic types, all dark-skinned, and omits others to avoid negative feelings in a western country of the first world ("tell me your message but don't inconvenience me too much").

The detail that we consider most insensitive: to put a coin in the mouth of a child?


Although the face is made of silk-screened cardboard, continues to being a symbol, and represents a load of meanings that doesn't get lost in the paper and the ink.
The currency is money; its metallic value is not transfigured into food in this operation.

Separating the public from the final objective that sought to help (a hungry child), through a ritual that is summed up inserting metal in the mouth, this campaign doesn't achieve another thing than aloofness, and provokes (at least at an unconscious level) a total detachment from the cause that seeks to help.

Now... Which an example of sensible social ad is?
Excellent examples are the several ones carried out for Amnesty International.
The following one is one of the many well made campaigns that communicate entirely and responsibly, even with a restricted budget. And where the goal of communicating efficiently has prevailed over the desire of generating something "cool", worthy of being admired by the colleagues.



The key points:
  • He impeccable use of photography. Sensible and potent black and white, shows us normal people's faces that defend a noble cause (the human rights in their countries), people that we can imagine fighting and suffering for what they believe, arriving directly to our emotional side.
  • A concise and clear copy that clarifies and reinforces the meaning of the pictures.
  • The use of the different city’s fenced surfaces that immediately acquire another meaning, transforming from lightly innocuous into symbol of the privation of the freedom, imprisonment and suffering. And sometimes death.

Agency: TBWA, Paris

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