Posts Tagged ‘Save the Children’

When Punchlines fall short

May 8, 2014

I found this video interesting but ultimately unsuccessful. Watching the girl go through her life was heartbreaking, made more so, by her narration. The repetition of the line “I didn’t cry” is really effective at punctuating her pain but also reminding us of her pride and resilience in the face of the horrors she faces.  I felt the punchline which is really the call to action just falls flat. After all she’s gone through, is her biggest problem really she doesn’t have water? I guess maybe…, I don’t know, but it moves the video from an emotional appeal to a rational one, suddenly I’m thrust into the position of having to judge whether water is at the level of child marriage or your mother is a prostitute, that’s not really the level Water is Life wants to be operating.

Frankly I’m not sure if this ad is motivating at all. There’s so much wrong with the poor girl’s life, how is fixing one thing going to make it right, it feels so daunting, that you just want to give up.

This video from Save the Children takes another tact. It tried to use humor and surprise to get your attention (as opposed to Water is Life which just uses shock value).  The punchline here is more effective, but I found myself distracted because I was feeling sorry for the models. It felt like they were being punked, and I shared their discomfort rather than engaging with their message.  That’s where this video falls short, I can’t transfer my discomfort with the execution to being upset about the facts they’re presenting. The message is clear, but the emotions are muddied.

I think something both these videos show is the importance of the punchline. Both these videos depend on their punchline to deliver their message and their emotion, but they both fall short because the punchline doesn’t connect with what came before either emotionally or in terms of message.

 

 

Who’s the Hero?

January 25, 2012

I came across this ad on twitter via @geekforever. (Disclaimer, my wife works at Save the Children and mentioned the DC/Save collaboration previously, but she didn’t show me any examples of the ad work:

A Collaboration between DC Comics and Save the Children

Here’s a link to the obviously good cause  (I might buy one of the shirts or iPhone case).

As a comic book fan, I was really blown away by the artwork, it’s beautiful and striking.

As a person who makes ads, I wondered, this is beautiful art, but it is a great ad?  Yes, it is attention getting which is important, it stands out, especially to someone familiar with the characters. That’s important, and I think it works well enough here that the audience will want to pause long enough to engage the ad and learn more about the message.

But I can’t help but feel it also is off-message. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but as I thought about it, I realized the focus here is on the heroes, not on you — the audience member turned hero.

So while the ad is beautiful and awesome does it reinforce the emotions and feelings that DC/Save want? Does it make the audience member feel like a hero, feel like someone who can save a life? I don’t think so.

I read somewhere “design without a message is art, design with message is an ad.

So the ad gets the right kind of attention (interest), but it doesn’t impute* it’s message and emotional content, and in that sense, it’s great art, but only an ok ad.

Addendum:

Thinking some more about the ad as I walked…. The problem really isn’t the art, but the headline. “We can be Heroes.” Of course the Justice League can be heroes, the point is “you” can be a hero.  It’s not about joining the Justice League (the heroes in the artwork), but about you helping when they can’t. So if it was the same artwork, but a headline like: “They can’t be heroes, but you can…” or “Be a real Hero…” or “You don’t need a costume to be a hero” then that reframes the message and the focus of the ad.

[*Impute: My new favorite word —  I picked up reading the Steve Jobs biography, which is pretty inspiring if you ask me. Basically a product or ad should impute to it’s audience it’s message — essentially it’s story and qualities should be obvious on an intuitive level, by the presentation. At least, that’s how I took it.]


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