Hey, I have a great idea for a fundraising campaign. Here’s the brief:
- Even though it’s about suffering children, don’t show any children. (Nobody is emotionally connected to children anymore, right?)
- The centerpiece will be a series of images that most people will not be able to identify. (That’ll make them pay more attention, right?)
- Explain the image with a slogan that completely undercuts the cause. (Cognitive dissonance!)
Okay, not such a good idea. But it seems to be the brief for this agency-created campaign for War Child, a UK nonprofit. Here’s one of the ads:
There are several other print ads (or posters?) in the campaign, and even a video on YouTube, none of which sheds any more light on the message:
It’s easy to convince children that killing is a game.
Think about that slogan for a moment. If you personally know any children, the falsity of it is breathtaking. In fact, the monsters who create child soldier don’t lure them in with fun and games — they do it with appalling violence and drugs. They psychologically destroy the child to turn him into a killer.
And if it were true that it’s easy to convince children that killing is a game, saying so would be an ineffective way to arouse the empathy of potential donors. Apparently, in the alternate universe where this ad agency is located, children are just one step away from being war criminals.
Like most Stupid Nonprofit Ads, the whole premise is an insanely ill-conceived visual metaphor. You probably didn’t realize those things on the posters were weapons made from balloons — much less the point they’re trying to make.
I hope nobody paid for this disaster. Even more, I hope nobody outside the “look-at-our-cool-pro-bono-ad” echo chamber sees the misleading message.
Thanks to Creative Advertisements for NGO for the tip.
More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.