A Better Course

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Rubbish presents, good ads

November 14th, 2007 · No Comments

Two charity campaigns have been interesting in the last few months. The most recent is Oxfam’s “Rubbish Presents” campaign:

Advertising their line of gifts in time for Christmas. It’s likeable because it’s obviously self-mocking; the celebrities in the advert look genuinely distressed, the language used (“Speak out against the horror of”) is an exaggeration of the kind of language that would be expected in an advert for a charity. The message, however – essentially sometimes rich people get Christmas presents they do not like – forces perspective without playing on feelings of guilt.

Likewise, Amnesty’s Unsubscribe campaign (link includes embedded video) brings a very everyday language, and a very everyday action, to a cause that will, for most people targeted, be far from everyday. “Unite against terrorism. Unite against human rights abuses in the ‘war on terror’. We did not sign up. We do not approve. We unsubscribe.” Again, it’s using a familiar irritation of relatively privileged adults (unwanted direct marketing) and its solution (unsubscribing) and putting it in a context that is so serious that the advert is disconcerting.

There are familiar themes in charity advertising – a problem is presented in emotional terms, along with the solution. It would be interesting to know how much of a response these less emotional but, I think, more engaging adverts attract.

Categories: advertising · marketing
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