Don’t use 3rd world kids to advertise, please.
By Joseph Ellis
“People just don’t care anymore.” I’ve heard this a few times, usually a reference to my generation; and I suppose that on some level it is deservedly so. I’m of a generation that came after an age of people caring a whole lot, working hard to make life better, and more equitable. The 1960s saw the anti-war movement, hippies, the Jesus crowd, and the Civil Rights Movement. In contrast, my generation hasn’t really done a whole lot. Instead, we gave birth to Jackass (tv show), MTV, Rap, coffee hipsters, myspace, facebook, and texting during conversations. I profoundly realize how unremarkable we’ve been just typing this!
However, I think people my age do care. I think most care a whole lot! We just hide it under a layer of desensitization; and we’ve had to. We are the generation that grew up with disturbing images being thrown at us from every direction. Come home from school, turn on some afternoon cartoons, and you knew you were going to see a few commercials starring starving kids in Africa. It’s shocking for a child, and I can tell you the end result was to become completely numb to them. Over the years, kids my age saw pictures like this all the time, and I think most of us learned to not have any emotional reaction to them. If you didn’t, you’d likely live in continual emotional turmoil!
Anyway, despite this, I think most of us are not apathetic. We really care about what is going on around the world and the suffering of human beings. But if you’re an advertiser working with a non-profit, here’s some advice: go easy with the images, because we’ve been programed to change the channel.