I’m working on a campaign for a charity at the moment.

So of course, I’ve been spending some time looking at great charity ads that have been done in the past. Not to steal them, if that’s what you were thinking, but just to get my head into that space.

Coincidentally, my good buddy Copyranter who recently announced he had retired but now seems has started again has recently written an acerbic
post about charity advertising.

Commenting on the above ad for Crystal Meth (sorry, I mean against Crystal Meth), he writes:

I'm sure the somber admen from San Francisco agency Venable Bell and Partners, standing on the various ad awards show podiums next spring, will somberly tell the suddenly not goofing-off audience that if the ads stopped just one kid from smoking the Meth, then every pro bono second they spent toiling to craft these graphic, perfectly art-directed scenes will have been so worth it, man.

He goes on to propose a solution to the same brief that he believes would be more effective:

(all type)

Anyway, that post set me wondering… how many of the good charity ads I have been looking through were created specifically to win awards, rather than help people?

Common sense says it shouldn’t matter, as long as the ads worked.

But if the ‘Ranter is right, and the type of charity ads created to win awards are perfectly art-directed duds, then it does matter.

What do you think?

Supplementary question – the last charity campaign you worked on, what was uppermost in your mind: winning awards, or helping people?