The usual purpose of advertising is to make the target audience aware of the company’s products and or services. It is also a way of attracting people to spend money on their goods or services, so they can make money. A lot of advertisements are designed to compete with other rival companies, so the customers will buy or use their products instead of their rivals. However charity advertising is very different; it doesn’t seek to sell any product or service, but to appeal to its target audience, so that they donate money.
They also use the advertisements to raise awareness of social issues. Charities often have difficulties in raising funds, as people often become overwhelmed with all the charities asking for them to donate their money. They may even develop charity fatigue due to the inundated requests for money. Also many people are unsure about what actually happens to their money, and if it is actually going to those who need it. As in some cases it’s being used to pay for wages and office work.
Furthermore, lots of people will try to avoid overbroad or world wide charities, as they usually believe that there are enough problems in their own country, and feel charities should be focussing on resolving those problems first. Barnardos is a children’s charity which started in the Victorian era. It seeks to raise funds, to help children who are born into a life of poverty. However they don’t only aim to raise funds but to raise awareness of issues within society such as children being affected by and living in poverty, and making people more socially conscious.
Barnardos have had a series of advertising campaigns that were designed using shocking images aiming to grab the attention of the general public and the media. Their target audience is usually adults; parents or people who have an interest for the welfare of children, or those who feel great empathy towards them. The Big Issue is a charity for the homeless and is based in the UK. It seeks to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the problems that homeless people face.
It is most commonly known for producing a scheme where they publish a magazine for the homeless people to sell consequently the no longer have to beg as they are receiving an income. The charity also aims to raise homeless peoples self confidence and self esteem. The magazine gives them a voice in the media, as it is primarily about the hardship and difficulties the homeless have to face. The Big Issues target audiences are adults with money and a social conscience who want to help those less fortunate than themselves, and people who try to understand what others are going through.
The Barnardo’s silver spoon campaign consists of three different but very affective advertisements, each trying to raise awareness of children born into poverty, and the problems they have to face. One of which shows a new born baby with a syringe containing heroin being injected into its mouth. The advert designer has tried to emphasise how vulnerable the baby is by showing it as new born and alone which portrays how pure and innocent it is. The syringe shows how it is living a life of poverty and drug abuse from the second it is born. Also the fact that the baby looks as though it is crying and alone creates a lot of empathy.
The baby’s position also creates a lot of empathy as it is lying on its back with one arm outstretched which suggests that it could be reaching out for the help and comfort from its mother, or even a life without poverty. The use of the colour white is also very affective as it connotes purity, vulnerability and loneliness. Whilst the colour blue connotes sadness and coldness, which could symbolise the baby’s feelings as it looks very cold, sad and alone. The use of the harsh and bright light contributes to the affect of the distress and sad emotions of the baby.
The heroin syringe in the baby’s mouth suggests that the baby’s life has been predetermined from the moment it was born, therefore destroying their cognitive development, and implies that as it was born into poverty then it will grow up to become and drug addict and abuser. The advertisement consists mainly of an image, which takes up the majority of the advertisement, however there is a small amount of text which is associated with the picture. The reason for there being so little text is that the advert designer wanted the audience to focus of the image, rather then the text, as the image alone is very effective.
Also the fact that in the text it refers to the baby as ‘Mary’ makes it more personal and realistic. To try and overcome charity fatigue, Barnardos have designed an advertisement which brings together the purity, innocence and happiness if a new born baby with the sadness and harsh reality of children being born into poverty and drug abuse. The combination of these two connotations the advertisement shocks the viewer as they do not expect to see what’s meant to be a joyful and happy new born baby being portrayed in this way, as a drug addict and abuser.
The use these shock tactics to try and create empathy for the baby therefore making people feel as though it is their obligation to give their money to Barnardos. The campaign affected the general public in a very different way compared to previous campaigns, so I therefore believe that Barnardos were successful in grabbing attention and raising awareness of the problems in our society. In contrast to the Barnardos advertisement as the Big Issue’s advertisement consists mainly of a large white text, on a dark, dimly lit picture which makes it more subtle and ambiguous.
The picture provides a background to the text. As a first glance the audience may find it hard to work out what the advertisement is trying to show, unless they read the text. As the background image is very dark is it confusing as to what it is representing or trying to show. The image is of a dark and unappealing shop doorway covered in rubbish and full of shadows and obscurity. This image could be interpreted as representing the stereotypical view of homeless people as; withdrawn, dirty and repulsive. The large white on black text is very prominent and stands out.
As only the text can explain what the advertisement is actually trying to show the audience may become bored, as a lot of text and be off-putting and unappealing. The Barnardos and Big Issue advertisements are very similar in the way that they both try to engage the audience and make them feel as though is their duty to give money to the worthy cause. However they are very different in their presentation of their advertisements. On the one hand Barnardos consists mainly of an image with little text whilst the Big Issue us almost all text with a dark image used as a background.
The text within the Barnardos Silver Spoon campaign, advertisements are all very effective in raising awareness and the number of donations. The heading is striking and direct and refers to the name of the whole campaign “there are no silver spoons for children born into poverty”. This slogan reminds us of the saying “to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth”. Barnardos used this as they were aiming to show that in contrast to the richer end of society, many children are not born with silver spoons in their mouths, but other objects, used as metaphors, such as syringes, cockroaches and methylated spirits.
This shows hot the environment they are born into can predetermine their futures of drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and homelessness. In both situation neither of the baby’s can have a say in the living conditions they are born into and consequently their future. The text only uses one quarter of the advertisement as the image alone is very striking. This shows how the image in far more important than the text. The text links to what we see in the image, and it reinforces and justifies what the campaign is trying to portray.
As the image alone is very effective, it is the main focus of the advertisement and what catches the audience’s eye. Within the text there are several persuasive techniques used, such as emotive language. An example of this is the use of the words “desperate”, “hope”, and “crush” which all help the audience to establish an emotional connection between them and the baby. The use of the baby’s name “Mary” is very effective as it personalises the advertisement to the viewer and makes the whole scenario seen more realistic. The text also uses the personal pronoun “we” which engages the reader and makes them feel more involved.
All these persuasive techniques are very effective, as they all have an impact on the audience, and create an emotional link between them and the baby, therefore making them feel as though it is their duty or obligation to help. The Big issue advertisement consists of two pieces of text. Then first of which is only a couple of lines long, and is in a large white font, and starts with the imperative “work this out”. This sets up a puzzle for the reader; it engages them therefore making them want to read on. The second piece of text is much longer and explains the puzzle.
Is also tries to persuade the reader that it isn’t homeless people who are the problem but people’s attitude towards them. This section on text also uses numerous persuasive techniques, for example rhetorical questions such as “Are you mad? ” This captures the reader’s attention and entices them to continue reading. Also the use of the personal pronouns “we” and “you” creates an emotional connection between the advertisement text, and the reader. Within the text there are many shocking facts, used to back up their claims, this therefore shocks the reader and encourages them think about their attitude towards homeless people.
There is a variety of sentence lengths which maintains the reader’s interest. The final sentence “the fact that you’re still reading is step one” flatters the reader, as it prompts them into feeling that they are a caring person and they have already achieved something. All of these persuasive techniques are extremely useful as they all engage and convince the reader. The Barnardos advertisement is very shocking yet effective. The large shocking image has the most impact on the audience, whilst the text is simply there to support and reinforce what the image is trying to portray.
However, the Big Issue uses a more subtle and persuasive technique. The image alone would be ineffective and insignificant, whereas the text is very powerful and engaging. Without the text the audience would find the advertisement to be confusing as what the image is trying to portray is very obscure. Some people may not agree with the Barnardos or Big Issue’s use of shock tactics and unnecessary images or representations. One the one hand viewers of Barnardos advertisement may feel that the images used were too graphic and unsuitable for public viewing.
The audience may also feel that the advertisement portrayed the problem in an inappropriate way, and the use of new born babies was unnecessary. However on the other hand, some people may believe that despite the fact the images were very shocking, it was necessary as the advertisements that are not noticed are not effective. The advertisement needed to grab the attention on the audience and media as it needed to raise awareness and address the common misconception surrounding children born into poverty, in the United Kingdom.
They may also feel that in order to increase awareness they had to use these disturbing images as many people ignore the problem of children born into poverty. In my opinion the use of shocking, even aggressive techniques are necessary as they are a vital part in the message of the advertisements. Also that to raise awareness of the fact that poverty is the single biggest threat to a child’s future, the shocking and disturbing images are completely necessary.