Barnardo shocking ads gets complaints.

Barnardo's uses shock tactics to tackle child poverty, this strategy has backfired.

More than 60 people contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) through its website, and dozens of people called the within hours of the ads appearing. The first in the series of newspaper adverts from Barnardo's shows a new-born baby with a cockroach crawling out of his mouth. Another advert in the "silver spoons" campaign features a baby with a methylated spirits bottle in its mouth while a third shows a baby with a syringe.

The headline on the adverts says: "There are no silver spoons for children born into poverty."

"Poverty is the single biggest threat to a child's future. It is essential that poverty is tackled now if we are to affect future outcomes for children," said Neera Sharma, the principal policy officer at Barnardo's.

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caffeinegoddess's picture

This is a powerful campaign. And that's why it's causing such complaints. No one wants to really see what the problems are. They'd rather turn a blind eye, or just hear about it, not see the nitty gritty details of what is *really* going on.

Last week a South African ad aiming to promote the importance of education was pulled off the air by the ASA. The ads were created by Saatchi & Saatchi. One spot begins with a young boy taking to the camera: "Hello my name is Thomas. In 10 years time we will meet at a stop street, I will walk up to your car and put a gun to your head, if you don't get out of your car I will shoot you." Another spot shows a boy saying that in a few years he'll be begging at a shop, and that he'll attack and stab the person who walks away from him when he asks for money. The ads end with the line: "With no education, this is a likely future. Educate. Educate. Educate." With almost twenty four complaints to the ASA, the complaints were upheld. The complaints said the ads promoted hijacking and justified criminal behaviour and showed insensitivity to victims of hijackings, making the ads distasteful. The ASA said that the public was "very sensitive to issues of crimes such as murder, rape and violence which are committed against the person".

That situation is similar to this. If the ad is making people cringe that it's going on, then the ad is working. Just because people don't want to see it, well that's sort of the whole point of the ads. To get the fact that these things are happening out there to those who live in their own little worlds, and to show that there is a way to stop these things from happening. If the ads aren't going to be seen by kids who would be scared or scarred by them, then I don't see a problem with them at all. You can't close your eyes to the horrors going on and wish them away. Life isn't a Disney movie. (I'll get off my high horse now.)

Dabitch's picture

.... No girl, you look good on that horse. ;) I'm applauding down here on my shetland pony.
The visual with the syringe just makes me cringe - makes me think of crack babies more than anything else actually. The cringe is a good cringe, as I know I'd read the body copy and get the message. Hell, I might even do that for the 'normal child' shot, that picture is real nice somehow.

caffeinegoddess's picture

Heheh. Thanks :D
On the Barnardos site, they have some bits about their ads but I can't seem to make out their body copy on these ads. But from the language they use on the site, my guess is that they are asking for donations to help them with the various projects they do to help including "community development projects, family centres, a range of services which enable families to lead fuller and happier lives, and help young people who are experiencing serious problems and whose problems began when they were born into poverty." They've also got radio ads on their site if anyone wanted to listen to them.

Dabitch's picture

from the MedaiGuardian

Some complaints are easier to resolve than others. More than 100 viewers complained to the ITC last month about an ad for computer giant Intel, which showed mountaineers on Mount Everest accessing the internet via a Centrino wireless laptop. "Not possible!" cried viewers. "Oh yes it is," said Intel, which explained that a wireless internet connection is available at the Everest base camp, connected by satellite. A straightforward question, easily resolved.

Other issues prove rather stickier. The ad campaign for Wrigley's X-cite chewing gum, which showed a man regurgitating a dog and used the tagline "Avoid dog breath", generated a record 864 complaints.

The hairy dog breath ad and the Intel on Mt Everest ad discussed previously under those links.

In contrast to TV and radio, there is no clearing house to vet print ads, although a free copy advisory service is available. Last month's Barnardo's campaign aimed at raising awareness about child poverty, which featured an image of a cockroach crawling out of a baby's mouth, generated a record 387 complaints.

Dabitch's picture

Trust the ASA to spoil our fun!

The Authority considered that the photographs in the advertisements would be interpreted as stylised illustrations of the babies' possible lives. It considered that, because they were unlikely to read national newspapers, children were unlikely to be distressed by the advertisements. The Authority acknowledged the serious message of the advertisements but nevertheless considered that the advertisers had used shocking images to attract attention and that the photographs were likely to cause serious or widespread offence. It told the advertisers not to repeat the advertisements.

Stuart Knight's picture

My partner, having been a subscriber to Barnardo's for years, received a 'Cold' telephone call. The caller identified who they were and the organisation and opened up with the words that they were NOT asking for money. As a result my partner continued to listen.
The call then moved onto the fact that they WERE asking for money in the form a leaving them assets from her will !!!!! She then queried this and asked the caller to read the line again from the opening script. The caller CONFIRMED the first line. THIS IS NOT A REQUEST FOR MONEY
Having contacted Bardnardo's I am then told that they WILL NOT reveal the name of the company they use for theses calls.
I then contacted the Charities Commission who back their claim.
I am aware of the Data Protection act and that if information is sought regarding a 'Personal' call, that a Subject Access Request is made by that individual and I fully accept that.

My concern is that a) This type of call is not an accepatble form of obtaining funds. i.e. By lying
b) By failing to give details of the company they use, is nothing to do with
personal information regarding the call. I think that by not giving details,
Barnardo's are not being totally transparent in allowing me to expose the company,
acting on Barnardo's behalf, to the public. I intend to make an approach to the
Information Commissioners Office regarding this
I will be exposing this to the public generally to decide if they wish to contribute following this appauling behaviour.