Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ain't It Awful

A report about a new UNICEF fund-raising ad has been making the rounds of the newscasts:

Chilling UNICEF spot puts Smurfs in war zone

The ad, to be shown in Belgium where the Smurfs originated, will be restricted to evening hours and is intended for adults.

I'm really not sure how I feel about this. First reaction is horror and disgust at the exploitation of innocent childhood characters to further an adult agenda.

Um.

Yeah.

So, how about the exploitation of REAL children, made to fight in adult wars? The money raised is to go to rehabilitate African child soldiers.

According to the CBC,
UNICEF said it had concluded that traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers.
Unfortunately, probably true due to the sheer volume of violent and tragic situations seen on both "entertainment" and news programming.

The question is, does the end justify the means? Is shocking people and tapping into their own childhood emotional memories an effective and justifiable method of accomplishing the goal of raising awareness and funds for this cause?
I think it is.
It's a sad commentary on the state of the world and on human nature, but I think the ad is postively brilliant and accomplishes its purpose.

I wonder how long it will be before this strategy loses its effect and marketers will have to dream up something even more unsavoury. Ugh.

And I hope they don't even THINK of using something like this to sell anything for profit.