24 December 2015

Advertising and altruism. A Christmas Tale.

Being a self-confessed bleeding heart lefty with socialist leanings (that works non-ironically in the field of brand and marketing), I have schooled my daughters to recognise advertising with more vigour than I have schooled them to eat their vegetables. This has resulted into two adorable children who know what advertising is, wants the thing anyway, and can’t be bribed into eating peas or potatoes no matter what.

Thinking I would be able to get them to understand the complexities of advertising and how it can be a force for good, not just for kinetic sand and Barbie dolls, I put our collective hands in the air recently to donate our time and their cute faces to the World Vision photo shoot, raising awareness for their Christmas gift campaign. What a brilliant opportunity I thought to myself, to have them see behind the scenes of ‘an advertisement’, coupled with a cause we actively support in our household.



Because my darling daughters are only five and THREEANDAHALF, I pitched it to them in the way I believed would best articulate the importance of doing good deeds to help raise awareness of other good deeds. Like all parents with children going through the ‘Why?’ stage, I asked “Wanna go see some goats on Friday?”

That said, having got their agreement to pose with a supermodel, frolic with goats and lambs, hold wee chickens and converse with a donkey, I really wanted them to understand WHY we were doing it.  And this is where it always gets tricky.

Super models and Jessica Gomez
Despite my clearly magnificent spiel that articulated every key point in splendid and all-inclusive detail – they still had more questions than is possible to field in the life span of the average human.

“But why do people need goats to help them live?”
“Why don’t their mums or dads give them goats?”
“Why doesn’t their childcare centre share their eggs like ours do?”
“What do you mean not everybody goes to school? WHAT ABOUT THE LAW?”
“What do you mean people don’t have lights to do their reading by? WHAT IF THEY GET SCARED OF MONSTERS?”
“If it’s an advertisement to help kids why isn’t Jay Laga’aia coming? He likes kids.”
“Why can’t somebody loan them some pencils?”
“I don’t fink vacca-nashuns are a good present Mummy. They poke you with NEEDLES.”

Our end result is that the five year old explained earnestly to her younger sister that no, they are still not allowed to get a cat but these other kids were allowed to have goats because of an advertisement and that we were going to have to buy some chickens as presents because not every childcare centre shares their eggs. And Jay won’t be there because he’s busy, so the fashion lady is coming instead.

To which the younger replied, “Okay. What colour goats shall we choose?”

I’m not sure that it’s exactly the elevator pitch World Vision can use in their next advertising campaign, and I know that teaching my daughters to live compassionate lives will be an ongoing thing, but there is no mistaking the joy they took in perusing the gift website this week and choosing animals and gifts they thought children like them would like.

Children just like them.

In the end it’s such a simple decision to support the work of World Vision. Every time.

Merry Christmas everybody. 
May you give a little, get a little, and say 
"A goat! Just what I always wanted" at least once. 


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