Advertising is a form of communication which is anticipated to sell a product, idea or a service. Being in a tricky business, advertisers try in every possible way to attract and affect the audience by their product. For this reason, they use certain emotional appeals to attract the attention of the customers. Most significant of them are emotional appeals which are intended to directly affect the customers. But many times these appeals convey the wrong message and absolutely backfire, and result in criticism and negative response of the customers.
Organizations in order to convey their message effectively and attract the target audience employ various tactics. For instance charity organizations use fear and guilt appeals in their advertisements. Sometimes these emotionally stimulating ads can push the boundary too far. As in the case of Barnardo, the use of guilt appeal totally backfired. Barnardo’s campaigns serve to bring to the public’s attention the facts of child poverty, child abuse and neglect in the UK. But in 2003, Barnardo’s newspaper adverts were eventually banned by the ASA.
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This silver spoon campaign by Barnardo sparked protests among the audience. It was designed to overcome unresponsiveness about the impact of poverty on children’s life but instead it received criticism from various charities and public. According to some it was humiliating and offensive to the very people they declare to help. While some suggested that it would encourage the children to copy those images. This campaign was banned because it was likely to cause serious and widespread offence. It gave the audience a negative impression of what it means to be poor.
Although the campaign was intended to create awareness among the people but what I assume is that the public did not like the way in which the infants were shown. In a society where children are significant and given private space, this ad seemed to demean them. If the advertisers could have used a different approach without showing the infants in that state, it might have not raised such an outcry.