Take a look at this:

and then take a look at these two:

I know I am late to commenting on this, but I took another look at UNICEF Sweden’s new ad campaign and I have to say I think it is smart strategy.

If this was a post about poverty porn, the first video above would qualify. As blunt and honest as the ad is – based on the choice of a potential recipient as the narrator of the piece (as opposed to a Sally Struthers cameo) – it is just a creative spin on an old technique.

The struggle for development organizations to move your heart strings just enough to pull out your wallet and support them is becoming harder. Social media has muddied what it means to care. The Facebook “Like” button now does what used to require one to do a definitive action. By clicking “Like,” you can now appease that guilt twinge of privilege and show everyone you care. This “click activism,” or “lazy activism” as it’s called, is popular and everyone is doing it.

But here is something that I think is an unintended consequence of an evolving industry. The Facebook “Like” button is forcing a change in tactics. The poverty porn strategy no longer works. Or rather, its tangible benefits have been inadvertently stripped away. UNICEF’s strategic pivot here to address this is brilliant. It attacks the problem using a topic that their audience can relate to.

The Facebook generation responds well to cat pictures and videos, not so much pictures of kids with flies in their eyes. The last two ads also play to Facebook’s narcissistic undertones. They poke fun at the “look at me, look at me” nature in which we, as the audience, express ourselves on the platform. This direct challenge to the audience to look inward and go beyond “liking” is smartly intentional.

What I like most about about the ads is that they challenge you to think about a tough issue without smacking you in the face with poverty porn. It raises the topic to an intellectual and emotional strata. It says “problem x will not be solved with a mouse click, but that credit card sitting right next to you can help bring the solution closer.”

The last 2 ads are the direction that development advocacy should be headed. The first one is where it should move away from.

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