Stupid ad displays stillborn creative concept

Stupid ads

It’s shocking, a crime against all morality, that preteen kids are forced to fight as soldiers in some parts of the world. I doubt it’s difficult to persuade others of that. The hard part, I think, would be getting Westerners to believe it’s really happening.

So if you’re working for Amnesty International or any of the other organizations working to address the child-soldier issue, you probably put a lot of thought into making this unbelievable outrage believable.

This stupid nonprofit ad, on the other hand, took the exact opposite approach. Make the issue seem less real! What if infants in the womb were already child soldiers?

Here’s what you get:

Amnestyultra

As usual with stupid nonprofit ads, the copy is microscopic. Here’s what it says:

Thousands of unborn children in South America are predestined to become child soldiers. Contribute to make a difference at
www.amnesty.org

Following the common MO of stupid advertisers, this one attempts to create a symbolic representation of a real thing. Real photos of real child soldiers are shocking.

But apparently, someone thought obvious fake mock-ups of ultrasound captures would be more persuasive. I’m guessing “shock value” is what it goes for. Thing is, it’s not shocking. It’s just strange.

Then there’s the utter falsity of the ad’s claim: The fact is, no child is “predestined” to become a child soldier. If they were, there’d hardly be any point trying to fight it. But children become child soldiers because of poverty, injustice, the actions of evil men, and the inaction of others.

They aren’t born that way. Each one could be prevented, and every one can be rescued. If we take sufficient action.

Why would anyone create a message that undermines that truth?

As near as I can tell, no part of Amnesty International has any official connection with this campaign — to their credit. It’s apparently freelance, portfolio-padding, navel-gazing, award-trolling stupidity. No real harm done.

Except this: The creator of this stupid nonprofit ad may someday get real work from a real nonprofit. And, following the abstraction-at-all-costs formula, put another stupid nonprofit ad out there, this time at cost to an organization that needs and deserves smart work.

Just make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Thanks to Creative Advertisements for NGO for the tip.

More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.


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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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