We’ve decided to jump straight in at the deep end with this one. It’s a strong and emotional beginning…
Premiering across the Channel 4 network, the ad will be shown across terrestrial and satellite channels from 3rd – 18th November. Or… just watch it here:
THE HISTORY: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) + Barnardo’s
Advertising is Barnardo’s vehicle for public support. It raises awareness of the issues no-one speaks of, those affecting vulnerable children, while clearly demonstrating how Barnardo’s can change lives. Therefore its pretty important BBH get it right.
Violent scenes and harrowing images characterise the BBH-Barnardo’s portfolio, provoking the necessary reaction to raise awareness and generate support. Brutally candid and controversial to say the least… but never dishonest, and an IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix accolade sitting on the shelf to prove it.
Work dramatising child abuse and child prostitution (the harrowing image of a baby injecting heroin springs to mind) has led to previous drawbacks from the Advertising Standards Agency, so it must be a celebration in itself for BBH to get (& keep) the ad on the air these days. We guess out of sight, out of mind rings a bell; people don’t want to see what they know may go on.
But, this time round the ad is thought provoking and powerful without offence – a change in the way they deliver their message… but does it work?
THE ADVERT: ‘Life Story’
The shot begins with 20 something Michael happily addressing where he is in life as you get a glimpse of the support he received from a Barnardo’s worker. The ad regresses in time to meet an angry and troubled teenager – the fierce kicking of a chair to change the shot gives it that sharp pitch we have come to associate with a scene from a Barnardo’s ad.
Another snapshot and we are introduced to an earlier point in his life depicting further troubles, followed next by an even younger child, this time suffering from abuse. The ad calms with a mellow close to remind us: ‘It doesn’t have to end like it began. Join us to fight for a child’s future.’
The message… easy to grasp: with the right support, children can turn their lives around. And here, as with Michael’s story, it doesn’t have to end like it began.
VERDICT: Brilliant vision well executed.
It is far too easy to sum this up with the word powerful; BBH have been producing these ‘powerful’ ads for Barnardo’s for over a decade. This is about delivering an effective message in a responsible way. BBH – take your hat off: thought provoking yet emotional enough to retain an echo of ‘there is still more to be done.’
We watched it and immediately felt the necessity for the strong tone and powerful execution. But this time without the distressing images, it affects through reason. Shock tactics may not be pleasant, but neither are the issues that the adverts are trying to raise and this addresses the real issues behind the advert and what exactly Barnardo’s have done to tackle them.