November 1, 2009


This image is from Cordaid, which is an international development organization. According to the organization's web site:

"Cordaid combines more than 90 years’ experience and expertise in emergency aid and structural poverty eradication. We are one of the biggest international development organisations with a network of almost a thousand partner organisations in 36 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America."

Any thoughts?

Hat tip: Lisa at Sociological Images (a few more images from this series can be found on this post).


J.M said...

I'd say these adds are about the trade of guilt.

Ryan Anderson said...

ya, i think that's a pretty accurate assessment.

i wonder how these sorts of ads actually influence people, if at all. maybe they just guilt people into sending money, like many of these other sorts of campaigns.

Douglas La Rose said...

I think it's interesting that the subject is devoid of an identity - they are fairly androgynous, only vaguely fit into an "ethnic" group (Somalian, Kenyan?), and are stereotypical of exotic. I mean, what is that look?

As an advertisement for donations, I'd predict that this was fairly unsuccessful.

Ryan Anderson said...

I wonder how this campaign actually worked out. It's a strange feel if they are trying to combine high fashion with an international development agenda.

The lack of identity is a good point. These people become symbols really, with no names, no specific stories, no specific lives. All of this is meant to encourage people to send money.

Conor said...

Im am curious Doug why you think this would be an unsuccessful campaign?
It looks like this is just a green screen background too. Weird.These images perplex me actually. I cant decide if I dislike them. My first response was "wtf?". But i think it an interesting approach to locating possible funders. It provides that "quick hit" that funders like b/c they do not actually have to do on-the-ground work.
Oh and you have no idea how many conversations I have had with my boss/co-workers about identity and its importance! Its quite ridiculous.

Conor said...

Oh and did you notice how easy it is to donate. You dont even need to talk with anyone. Just text "aid" to 2255. Wow. So impersonal.

Douglas said...

I think it would be fairly unsuccessful because it doesn't really connect the viewer with an issue or a concrete situation. I would assume that the ambiguity of the subject would likely throw people off. It's hard to be concerned about something you can't understand. I get it that a person needs access to water more than they need sunglasses, but this picture doesn't really convey that. The subject doesn't seem particularly desperate, unhappy, or even interested. I would be (and am) confused about what the campaign is even about.

J.M said...

I think the message is not "a person needs access to water more than they need sunglasses",
but rather "a poor person in the global south needs water more than I need sunglasses. I'd better donate money rather than buying useless stuff". No ?

Douglas La Rose said...

I need sunglasses, they need sunglasses.. whatever. I felt that way because the individual was holding the sunglasses in an attempt to show the futility of sunglasses in a situation where access to water is more imperative. It connects the sunglasses to "their" context and "our" context simultaneously. Apparently, the message is ambiguous enough to where a "learn more at...." would have been better than a "text to 2255 to donate x$."

I also don't know that a specified form of guilt such as "how can you buy sunglasses when I need water" has ever done well for these kinds of campaigns. There are more powerful ways to convey that message, such as "the group that this person comes from desperately needs water, and this is how we're going to help them develop access to a sustainable water supply." Showing a picture of children fetching water from a borehole and saying "you could be part of this" might be more clear and, well, successful.

Conor said...

Although I agree that children fetching water may be more successful, I believe that this is a unique (although quite silly) approach to raising funds. From what Ive gathered, this seems to be be one marketing scheme for the organization, but not their only one. It could be for a specific group of people, rather than the masses. And the fact that funders dont have to even visit a website (let alone a country and a people) to donate, provides an easier way to give funds. PS I have emailed them about their campaign. I have yet to hear a response.