The Brazilian blow up Santas have arrived.

These being sold at traffic lights can only mean one thing – Christmas is just around the corner.

Another tell tale sign it’s Christmas would be the release of the now somewhat infamous Geldof Band Aid 30 song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas‘.

Oh dear. From a PR point of view, that didn’t go so well, did it?

But why do so many people wish the song was never resurrected?

To make a long story short, raising money for Ebola involves slightly different methods, goals, and measures of effectiveness from those of commercial advertising.

Where selling Coca-Cola, for example, you’d probably want to create a positive attitude to the brand and stimulate purchasing behaviour.

A message about Ebola is a little more complicated.

If you use traditional communication approaches when creating cause marketing, it can often lead to discrimination, stigma and misinformation.

The song managed all three.

Just because “Do They Know It’s Christmas” raised $1.6 million dollars in pre-orders, and is a top selling song on itunes, does not make it a success.

I wonder what the family of the dying woman in Geldof’s video thinks of the song and the video? And would people, on the continent of Africa, agree that there is ‘death in every tear’, and that the world outside of their window is a world of dread and fear?

Our measure of success when creating nonprofit ads? If the beneficiaries of your ad see it, and fall in love with it, you know you’re probably onto something good.

So – what do you think of the ads below? Some of them we love. Others not so much. If you’re in the business of creating ads, and find yourself doing nonprofit advertising, here’s a handful to get you thinking.

And if you have any you want to share with us, please do!

Enjoy the run up to Christmas. And perhaps, rather than buying the Band Aid 30 song, check out this one. A beautiful track by amazing African artists, all proceeds go straight to MSF, and you’ll learn something valuable when listening to the lyrics!

Great or not so great. See what you think!

Although this communicates the message ‘condoms keep you firm, fresh and healthy’, as well as ticks the boxes of being shocking, stands out in a magazine, and was probably fairly affordable to make, what does it say about those people living with HIV? It suggests they are spoiled, damaged, makes them feel ashamed and stigmatized.

ad 1

See what you think of the others below… and when looking at them, think – who is the message reaching? Are there any prejudices in the ads? How does the advertising make you feel? How would the ad work in another country or culture?

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