Monday, September 7, 2009

People in Need Campaign


I don't know what to think about this ad campaign by People in Need.
I guess if I'm still thinking about it and even posting the provocative images, then it must be successful in the advertising world.
(I wish I could make images bigger, just click to enlarge.)

Each of the images shows an African (though I'm not sure where the photos were taken) holding some luxury item in a high-fashion-model pose. Each image also quotes the price of the item alongside the price of something the developing world needs. For example, the first image shows a woman holding a pair of sunglasses and states:

SUNGLASSES 24 euros
ACCESS TO WATER 8 euros

Text 'aid' to 2255 and donate 1.50 euros

Clearly, the ad is drawing on the guilt of the wealthy for donations. My little family is not the target of this campaign. My husband would never spend 35 euros on aftershave and I cringe if I have to pay more than 3 dollars for a beer. (We're also not European and don't pay in euros for anything.) But we would donate a few dollars and this ad makes it very easy...just text your donation while you have that pint. You don't even have to think about it too much.

The images are a little disturbing to me. I feel like the ad is also drawing on the misplaced feeling of the models in positions and poses often reserved for younger, whiter models. I would like to have been a fly on the wall at this photo shoot. That last image especially is such a classic way to sell a purse...but we're not selling purses here. It seems like the ads are making fun of luxury ads, but they're just not quite ironic enough. The models, to me, don't seem to be in on the joke. In fact, I almost mistook the image for an actual fashion spread - you know Vogue does that sometimes...uses real people in exotic places to sell outrageously expensive junk.

I'd like to hear the reaction of Africans to this campaign. They are not the target audience, but rather the subject matter. Is it offensive, creative, brilliant, annoying? I feel like it's all those things.