UNICEF has a new campaign out. It certainly has shock value, but it shames and angers the audience. As we’ve discussed, anger and shame are some of the most difficult motivating emotions to work with.
This ad can grab your attention, but it makes you feel terrible. I’m sure that the designers are trying to goad people into action, but after you saw it what did you do: go to the site UNICEF directs you to and donate, or continue reading to see how I would debunk something that made you feel bad? Most people take the easier path, and getting angry about it doesn’t change it.
Contrast that with the positive exponential power of social marketing that Julie Dixon is talking about here. Which is better for long term donation success? An ad that generates a little immediate response at the expense of turning off most people who see it? Or a campaign that encourages regular interaction with those exposed to it, leaving them with a positive feeling for having helped a cause and passed on your information to thousands of people who might not have been exposed to it?
One of these will leave you in a much better mood when UNICEF comes back around in six months. Call me biased, but the UNICEF ad seems designed by people who are very close to the painful problems and immediate needs of the children they work with, and not very close to the mindset of a potential donor. Advertising based on your mindset instead of your targets can be successful, but it’s going to turn a lot of people off and waste a valuable opportunity to reach potential donors in the process.