I saw this at Wronging Rights in a post by Amanda Taub, and thought it was worth re-posting here (with the caveat that I know nothing about the NGO that made it, other than that it is focused on safe water):
You should read Amanda’s analysis, too. It’s more insightful than what I’ll add. Which is this: if the kid was a white American, this would be a Make A Wish Foundation ad, pretty much to the letter.
That is fantastic news.
There should be an unspoken rule that binds NGOs : if you can’t plausibly see the ad you’re making adapted to fit a white kid in a developed country, you should really reconsider making the ad.
Why? There are different needs, aren’t ther? Of course.
But this ad works. It’s emotional, honest, and heart-wrenching. It raises awareness about the lack of safe water, and the effect that has on kids. It’s going to raise a bunch of money for the NGO. It does everything an ad like this is supposed to do.
And it does so without the typical “kid sitting in filth with flies buzzing around” while a white, bearded guy begging the viewer for “less than a dollar a day.” Yes, there are some people that live in those conditions, and yes, a lot of the time that’s a very, very sad fact. But playing up suffering to raise funds only turns the potential recipient into just a victim.
It’d be nearly impossible to look at this ad and think “victim.” The kid is just on “an adventure!” And the viewer should still get that one of every five of his friends will die from a preventable cause.
It’s a beautiful ad. I hope it’s used as a standard-bearer by which future NGO ads are judged.