10 Dec

It’s brilliant, but…

I saw this festive (of sorts) ad, from Amnesty International, earlier:


My first thought was: Brilliant. Just brilliant.

It’s creative, it’s simple, it’s visually arresting, it has a strong message, it’s spot on for the time of year (in some ways, it’s the antidote to all the saccharine crap that’s being shoved down our throats by all other advertisers), it packs a real punch.

It’s the kind of work that makes me tingle with jealousy (in a good way). It’s the kind of work I’d want in my portfolio. It’s the kind of work I’d want to wow a creative director with, but… what’s its aim, and does it work?

There doesn’t seem to be any call to action on it (no ‘Text £5 to 7700’), so it’s certainly not to raise funds or attract new donors. 
It may be doing the rounds to raise awareness of the work Amnesty International do, and the plight of others.
The problem with this is:

1. All of the other charities (whether for diseases, homelessness, poverty reduction) have done the rounds with their Christmas direct mail campaigns (mountains of the stuff, all arriving at once), plus TV, radio, and press ads… and many of these charities went the route of pulling on heartstrings, making us feel something for others, playing on our emotions. So, this Amnesty International ad arrives very late in the day, when we’re all a little emotionally spent on the plight of the homeless, impoverished children, those suffering with AIDS, those with no clean drinking water.

2. I’m not sure this approach will work. It almost lays on the guilt trip a bit too thick. The line ‘It’s no holiday for the unjustly imprisoned’ is incredibly powerful, but I think it’ll put many on the back foot: ‘f*** you for making me feel bad about having a decent Christmas, after a tough year’.

So, a slightly controversial position to take, but I think it’s a cracking piece of creative work – I’m just not sure it works as an ad.

What do the rest of you think?

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