Brave move – thanks for pointing out the obvious

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Child protection week

Orchids and Onions this week are very much news-related.

This advert for Childline, done by House of Brave in Joburg, ran in a number of newspapers this week. It’s an account of huge coverage in the media – formal and informal – of an event which was a national talking point. The only possible thing it could have been was the debate about The Spear – the controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma by artist Brett Murray.

It starts off with “1 painting”, goes through “9 lawyers”, “18 hours in court”; through to “187 front-page press articles” and “216 breaking news TV stories” through to “325 987 mentions on Twitter”.

The punchline says it all: “For the last seven days, it’s been child protection week in South Africa. Unfortunately no one noticed.”

The ad then goes on to talk about the reality that, in that week, 530 children were sexually violated across the country.

It’s hard-hitting. It’s a reality check. It’s powerful advocacy advertising. Orchid to House of the Brave and to Childline.

Ad man James Burton dropped me a note telling me to look at the latest TV ad for Dove conditioner.

“More specifically, check the initial titles closely and get ready to pause. There’s a fun spelling typo in there that, but for everyone’s inherent ability to convert subtly jumbled alphanumeric input into a coherent outcome, would be lost. Not sure what that says about my brain since I didn’t do exactly that, but…”

So, thanks to the wonders of PVR, I managed to watch the ad a couple of times. Sure enough, the first appearance is of the word “conditoner”… It’s not something you pick up straight away, but the “i” is definitely missing from the word.

Says James: “Big brand, big agency, big audience. And it has been flighted for quite a while. Yet no one has picked it up – and it is pretty obvious once you properly see it.”

Agree James. So an Onion for Dove... because quality control is lacking.


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