War Child Commercial – Brilliant Satire or Bad Taste?

Dec 11

This is a commercial for War Child Canada.¬† It is difficult to watch, although few could argue its brilliant use of satire.¬† The producers of the ad have taken a great leap of faith in assuming that most viewers have a strong grasp of the literary device.¬† Certainly, children viewing this would be confounded by the images and likely completely misinterpret its meaning.¬† While I appreciate the charity’s¬†message and the method to convey it, I don’t necessarily agree that inaction to donate is equal to encouraging children to bear arms.¬† Unfortunately, other issues – completely beyond the control of Canadians – play a much¬†heftier role in creating child soldiers, such as corrupt, unstable governments and tribal wars.¬†

I have, in fact, supported War Child in the past, not because I think I am helping to build armies of child soldiers if I do not donate, but rather because I hope that War Childwill aid kids suffering as a result of wars caused by those very forces that are unlikely to be eliminated by any single person, government, or NGO. 



What do you think?


Did you like this post? Get the latest posts in your email - .


  1. Simone /

    I give kudos to those who are working to raise awareness about the horrifying conditions in many parts of the world. At the same time, I cannot help but feel that there is rather uncomfortable truth in the fact that Hill & Knowlton, the PR firm that is widely recognized as having helped to “sell” both Iraq wars to the public, is assisting War Child Canada with this campaign. I recognize that there is not an absolute “purity” by which one can measure one’s associations on the basis of shared or divergent values, but this particulary association certainly moves one into the territory of serious hypocrisy, and even indignation. The contradiction of this association seriously undermines the organization’s integrity and judgement.

    The campaign is ‘shocking’, but not particularly effective in inspiring true action, or even the desire to become informed. True inspiration stems from feeling – from a deep concern that is born, and nurtured in the heart. This campaign remains at the level of the gimmicky mind. I feel that the issue of child soldiers has been packaged, airbrushed, and ‘sold’ to the audience. From my humble perspective, meaningful change can’t be arise from a clever manipulation – no matter the worthiness of the cause.

  2. Danielle Leonard /

    I agree that most people will watch it, admire it or hate it. Then, as is with most “shocking” images – carry on with their lives without sending a donation. The most unfortunate thing of all of this may be the ever increasing need to push people out of their comfort zone to get a message noticed, that is, through creating shock. But, the more the envelope is pushed, the more people grow desensitized. When will it end? Ultimately, it is not gimmicks (as you stated), but an innate sense of compassion that cannot be summoned by a Public Relations Campaign.

Share your thoughts!