Easier Said Than Done: Abstract Art or Fundraising?
And that's only half of the problem: Most people simply aren't going to wade through the symbolism and connect the distant dots. Those who do, having completed a mildly interesting intellectual exercise, will hardly be in the philanthropic state of mind. The message didn't go remotely near the heart.
That's assuming the symbolism isn't completely inept, in which case nobody will even figure it out in the first place.
Speaking of inept …
Thirty-second TV spot. Scene: A beautiful woman dressed in a billowing gown walks toward the camera. Quick cuts show her in various odd positions, as well as close-ups of boiling water, steam and other hard-to-place visuals. The woman whispers inaudibly and seems to be eating noodles. Finally, we land on a still image of a jar of spaghetti with the words, "Spaghetti pour elle." And, uh … the screen goes dark with the words, "Food shouldn't feel like a luxury," followed by a microscopic phone number and Web address.
I've been in fundraising for a long time. Of all the issues you try to get folks to respond to, hunger is the most straightforward. People just get it. They want to do something about it. Raising money to fight hunger is the fundraising equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.
But when the agency guys (or maybe it was their interns) got the assignment, they decided to create a philosophical abstraction that stands for hunger: an airy castle built around the notion that for some people, food is unattainable, like a "luxury." To make that point, they used the weird conventions of luxury advertising.
OK. That's vaguely clever. But it's miles away from a call to action to help people in need. If anyone takes the trouble to figure out the puzzle, she might come away with a vague sense of outrage. Or a bemused smile at the upside-down values of our world.