Well, I’ve seen it all now – a child beaten up in front of
me; not in the context of a film I’ve been sick enough to choose to watch, but
in a 60-second TV advertisement in my home while I’m eating my supper. Well, it would be in my home, if I
lived in Ireland. You can see it
for yourself on YouTube ,if you have the stomach for
This ad, from the ISPCC (the Irish equivalent of the NSPCC), is in
my view crude and crass and will set back the cause of fundraising in Ireland.
In the UK, no charity would show this sort of stuff and it
is light years away from any ad the Irish have ever seen on their screens
before. In the UK, it would be banned
by the Advertising Standards Authority immediately.
to mirror the disturbing but acclaimed and influential ad some years ago by
NSPCC. In that, the cartoon
depiction of a child being abused was just about acceptable, and the outcome
was a determination to expose such
cruelty. But in this ad, you are made to watch the real thing. Slap, smash, slam.
The poor child is forced to spout the mission statement of
the ISPCC. “I have the right to be happy,” he says through clenched teeth as he
is beaten up. “I’ll fight for the rights of children like me.” This is not how a six-year-old boy
speaks. It’s how an advertising
agency thinks he should speak in order to get a message across to adults.
And the call to action is: ‘Join the fight for children’s
rights’. What does that mean? What do you actually want me to do? Well, that little nugget is left to the
imagination. And, if they’re
hoping for donations, forget it.
This is a study in misguided fundraising.
It makes me so angry that a charity and an ad agency have
actually done this.
Stephen Pidgeon is a principal consultant at Tangible and partner in Pidgeon Sargeant