Domino effect: stupid nonprofit ad

Well, it’s not as bad as their 9/11 vs. tsunami fiasco, but this World Wildlife Foundation ad achieves a noteworthy level of stupidity:



(Or watch ithere.)


The video was produced by a London ad agency, and that explains a lot: We see the danger of abstraction that ad agencies seem unable to keep out of nonprofit marketing. This video’s task is a tough one: It seeks to motivate people to “get involved” in various campaigns, apparently by writing letters. That lack of specificity certainly makes it hard to craft a compelling call to action.


But reducing action to visual symbolism doesn’t get people closer to action. It pushes them farther away.


When you write a letter, it’s an act of communication. It goes somewhere and is read by somebody, who, we hope, takes a proper action as a result.


Your letter is not a big colorful domino that starts knocks over other colorful dominos, that begin knocking over bulldozers, slitting open fish nets, and rescuing a polar bear trapped on an ice floe.


The ad may be cool to look at, but reality — boring old literal reality of people making the world a better place in specific ways — is far more compelling. And far more likely to motivate people to action.


If you need to make a video that works to stir real people to real action, find someone who isn’t bored with reality.


Thanks to Osocio for the tip.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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