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World Vision TV Ads: Do you think these are highly effective or disgusting?

9765065_origIt’s obvious that World Vision does amazing work.  And it’s an incredibly important cause.  In fact, my wife and I have been donating to World Vision for the past 15 year.  But these ads are very disturbing to me.   I’m not sure the tone of these ads convey what I’m supporting.  Yes, they are arresting and will capture attention, but it feels like the attempt at shock value humor could turn consumers away rather than connect with the cause.  

world_visionLike any charity the goal should to raise more money to support the cause and related work.  These ads are likely trying to raise more money from those who already support the cause.  While the ad community will love the creativity of the ads, I’m worried the tone is wrong and will cause even less donations.  Not more.  

Creatively, do you make people feel really bad about the problem, or do you make people feel good about the progress you are making? 

Here are the two Ads

 

 

I do not like these at all.  The tone feels way off.  What’s your view?  
Poll: Will these ads raise MORE or LESS money for World Vision?

 

 

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12 thoughts on “World Vision TV Ads: Do you think these are highly effective or disgusting?
  1. Sofia

    Hello Graham

    I completely agree that these ads are creative but weak. Very weak. It’s been a weakness of the charity community to use shock tactics to raise money, using images of children starving or ill or dying to raise awareness of their plight. What I want to see are more ads showing exactly what it is that our money is doing to create change and then we can be encouraged to continue the support for the change. We don’t see deodorant ads with smelly people but rather the result of the action of the deodorant. It would be great to see charities following this approach.

    Cancer Research UK is a charity whose advertising I admire. Their ‘Enemy’ TV ad (2012) http://youtu.be/jWuyPi_nuJE takes us on the journey they are on and puts it all into perspective. They are acting in the way a brand would. Let’s hope others learn from their approach.

     
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  2. sofia

    Hello Graham

    I completely agree that these ads are creative but weak. Very weak. It’s been a weakness of the charity community to use shock tactics to raise money, using images of children starving or ill or dying to raise awareness of their plight. What I want to see are more ads showing exactly what it is that our money is doing to create change and then we can be encouraged to continue the support for the change. We don’t see deodorant ads with smelly people but rather the result of the action of the deodorant. It would be great to see charities following this approach.

    Cancer Research UK is a charity whose advertising I admire. Their ‘Enemy’ TV ad (2012) http://youtu.be/jWuyPi_nuJE takes us on the journey they are on and puts it all into perspective. They are acting in the way a brand would. Let’s hope others learn from their approach.

     
    Reply
  3. James

    I’d like to say their heart is in the right place, but these are really unforgivably bad and frankly trite executions. They do not work as a shock tactic, instead I suspect leaving the viewer bewildered at best, unaffected at worst.

     
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  4. Lawrence "Larry" Berezin

    Dear James,

    Great point.
    I responded to the survey by voting these ads will raise less money. But, I find it difficult to believe that a potential donor would punish the messenger for the horrible taste of the marketer…would you?

    With that said, I’ve found some harsh ads very powerful. However, this ad isn’t one of them. It’s not creative, it is simply bad.

    Thanks for your thought provoking post.
    Best,
    Larry

     
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  5. Tim Barnes

    It’s a creative team going off strategy through humour. Lots of ideas I’ve seen that use humour to make something heavy feel light, but being tasteful and sincere is important. Game show communication would be off-brand in my opinion. Screams for some help from Beloved Brands on setting the pillars, or goal posts as I call them, for what the brand is, and more importantly what it is NOT. Tim

     
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  6. Lilian

    Hi Graham,

    I agree with you that this ad leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it demonstrate what slavery was like thousands of year ago, except that this ad has a modern take on it. I do believe that it does not full fill the objective of the campaign which is to raise money, but it does raise awareness to the cause. Bottom line, this ad shouldn’t be used to raise money but to educate.

    Thanks for the post.

     
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  7. Nanci C

    I don’t think humor was an objective. What they got was something that stood apart from everything currently done by World Vision. It snuck up on those who change the channel who can’t deal with the emotional appeals. Cuts through the clutter of other ads, and yes it is repulsive, but so is the point of the ad. Coming in so quickly after the building collapse in Bangladesh, it is current and relevant.

     
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  8. Craig

    The question is what is the campaign objective: fundraising or issue awareness building?

    If they are meant to build awareness of the all too present situation of indentured children, human trafficking, and workplace slavery they got your and my attention. The ads are definitely uncomfortable to watch. It is an issue than many of us and our neighbours don’t want to think about. We really don’t want to have have the dots connected: the goods we purchase with indentured children.

    (Aside: it is a very complex matter where attempting to do good can backfire.)

    History has shown that the big picture approach hasn’t resulted in the behaviour change desired. Too big? Too far away? No emotional connection?

    How does one personify the life of an indentured child, slavery and child trafficking? World Vision has shown us one way.

    These ads seem to be effective at issue awareness building and generating a gut clenching emotional response. In behaviour change marketing, building awareness of a situation is step one. From that perspective they are effective.

    So what’s the step two — is it to have viewers lobby their politicians or brands to force behaviour change or is it to fund-raise so World Vision can help children escape such a life? Or is it a combination of all three?

     
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  9. JoAnn

    I’ve had conversations about these ads but not about the cause (which I was already aware of). I don’t think that was the objective. Using a paid child model to appear as a slave, is hardly better than using photographs of real children around the world. And to read comments by World Vision social media staffers on various sites, doesn’t make me like the ads any more.

     
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  10. Lynne

    Interesting that this is a World Vision Canada microsite and campaign. It does NOT meet the brand guidelines of World Vision US or WV International. Not sure how they got away with doing this — not sure anyone at wV knows. It’s awful.

     
    Reply

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