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Cordaid Ad Campaign Has Strong Call to Action

By Meg    About Cordaid

As a recent college graduate with a marketing degree, I have certainly seen my fair share of advertisements. From the thousands of commercials, billboards, and flyers that are thrown my way each day to the hundreds (if not thousands) of ads and campaigns that I studied throughout my time at school, I consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable about marketing and advertising. I’ve analyzed controversial ad campaigns such as those of PETA, I’ve studied the evolution of cigarette advertisements, and I even know why the dog on the package of Cottonelle makes you feel good about buying toilet paper (it’s because of classical conditioning). I know about the range of techniques that marketers will use to make an advertisement memorable. I understand why advertisers try to play on emotions rather than just telling you why you should buy their product. I’ve seen a lot of ads, but very few have left a lasting impression.

While researching Cordaid, I came across an ad campaign that they ran a few years back called “People in Need.” The campaign was designed to raise awareness of global poverty and to showcase how so many of the things that we take for granted and spend money on frivolously – aftershave, beer, sunglasses, and a purse –  could truly be spent in a life-changing way for people struggling with poverty (one pint of beer could provide 150 liters of fresh water, etc.). Each of the four advertisements features an impoverished man or woman, dressed in rags, in the desert of Africa holding one of these “luxury” items. The image is astounding. The ad includes the price of the item, as well as the shockingly low price of the things that these people so desperately need – access to water, food for a week, and basics for a new home. The obvious contrast of our materialistic nature with the fundamental needs of which these people are deprived is astonishing.  It’s truly inspiring. The image makes you want to take action. It makes you want to help. It makes you realize how lucky you truly are. At the very least, it makes you think.

From a marketing standpoint, Cordaid made use of an effective strategy. They played on our emotions. They maybe even made us feel a little bit guilty for thinking we “needed” that purse (or sunglasses, or aftershave, or even that beer). But they really did more than that. They sent a powerful message. They put things in perspective. Cordaid made a lasting impression on people who never cared or noticed or witnessed the extreme poverty that people across the globe battle with daily. It was hard-hitting and eye-opening, and may have been just enough of a wakeup call to make people reflect on their own lives and take action.

Cordaid is one of the largest development organizations in the Netherlands, working in 28 countries to combat global challenges. To learn more about Cordaid and how you can get involved, visit http://www.cordaid.org/en/get-involved/

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