Stupid ad makes cancer cute

The ad agencies strike again, providing a hapless nonprofit with a strikingly stupid nonprofit ad.
The victim: Movember (the organization that encourages guys to raise money to fight guy cancers by growing mustaches in November. The offending ad agency: the slash-challenged TBWA\Chiat|Day.


Check this one out:



Or watch it here on YouTube.


I can see the power in giving people the opportunity to beat up a terrible disease; there are a couple of diseases whose teeth I wish I could kick down their throats. But when you symbolize that by making the kickers look like homophobic thugs and the disease look like a cute team mascot — well, you’ve turned the concept upside down.


Seriously, did the creators of this video even watch it? Didn’t anyone among all the people it takes to produce such a project raise their hand and say, Um … guys … it looks like we’re kicking Mickey Mouse’s butt…


Of course not.


The ad agency geniuses were wrapped in their usual world of abstraction. In all their creativity, they missed the central fact that prostate cancer is a terrible thing. It’s not a goofy costume — it’s a real-life disease that hurts and kills men.


Want to move people to fight prostate cancer? Show them there’s a problem, make the problem real, give them a meaningful action they can take, and show how their actions make progress against the disease.


Abstract symbolism doesn’t accomplish any of that.


Here’s another video from the same campaign that’s even weirder:



Or watch it here on YouTube.


All I can say about this one is WTF? I mean: W? T? F? Prostate cancer is trying to pick up prostitutes? That’s what has our thug-protagonists all riled up? Huh?


Here’s what amazes me about ad agency work for nonprofits: They start bad, with pointless, dumb, misdirected abstractions. Then they manage somehow to make it even more surreally worse. Is there LSD in the water coolers at TBWA\Chiat|Day?


So remember the standard warning for when an ad agency comes to you pitching their wares: Just say no!


Thanks to Adrants for the tip.


Comments

6 responses to “Stupid ad makes cancer cute”

  1. I think that ad agency’s sideways Web site says it all!

  2. I think that ad agency’s sideways Web site says it all!

  3. WTF indeed.

  4. WTF indeed.

  5. More than mildly disturbing. Not a thing about it compels one to support the cause. And how does it relate to “grow a moustache”? I realize Movember uses this silly call to action as a motivator and rallying point, but it is only made more trivial and bizarre by the plotlines driving these spots, which make no attempt to relate it to the action on the screen, nor to the fight against prostate cancer. A waste of pixels. Thanks for sharing, Jeff (I think), at least as a cautionary tale.

  6. More than mildly disturbing. Not a thing about it compels one to support the cause. And how does it relate to “grow a moustache”? I realize Movember uses this silly call to action as a motivator and rallying point, but it is only made more trivial and bizarre by the plotlines driving these spots, which make no attempt to relate it to the action on the screen, nor to the fight against prostate cancer. A waste of pixels. Thanks for sharing, Jeff (I think), at least as a cautionary tale.

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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.