Shocking advert awarded worst fundraising campaign of 2014

Shocking advert awarded worst fundraising campaign of 2014

While Save the Children UK won the prize for this year’s best charity, a South African ad has been voted as the most harmful example in 2014. 

Tuesday night the winners of this year's Rusty Radiator Awards were announced at the official awards ceremony in Oslo.

The organization Feed A Child South Africa received harsh critique for their controversial charity ad "Save A Child" earlier this year, which as a response was taken off television screens. The video compares poor children with dogs and was labeled racist and misleading.

Watch Feed A Child's response to their video after the harsh critique earlier this year.

- This ad illustrates how a good cause and a fundraising campaign can be drawn into the wrong direction. Racism is not just something that existed 200 years ago, it is present both in South Africa and Western countries today, says Kristoffer Kinge, SAIH’s Vice President and head of this year’s award.

Save the Children UK's "Most Shocking Second A Day Video" was created to draw attention to the ongoing violence in Syria, showing a British girl filming a one second video of her life. In her footage we can see messages of the escalating conflict pop up in the news. The video has received more than 40 million views on YouTube.

- In a creative way this video brings an ongoing conflict “home” to the British audience and focuses on the universality of suffering, says Kinge.

"We are all in this together"

Jess Crombie, Head of Visual Creative at Save the Children UK, was at work in Jordan when she received the news.

- When I heard that we had won this award today I was quite serendipitously showing this very film to a group of Syrian teenagers in Zaatari refugee camp. They found it an understandably tough watch, but also loved it for its humanising of their situation. As they so rightly pointed out, we are all in this together, a message that we should all keep front of mind when we’re creating communications materials.

- Many thanks to the jury and all those who voted for this award, Crombie wrote from Jordan in an e-mail to SAIH.

The Rusty Radiator Team has not yet succeeded in reaching out to Feed A Child South Africa.

Band Aid illustrates why attention is needed

SAIH started the Rusty Radiator Awards in 2013. An international jury has selected the nominees, while winners are awarded through open internet voting. People from all parts of the world have voted their favorites.

Both the awards and SAIH’s popular satire videos have received wide attention internationally, recently also being linked up to the ongoing debate concerning the new Band Aid song.

- The Band Aid song and the nominees for the Rusty Radiator illustrate that harmful stereotypes are still present in fundraising communication today. We hope that these awards will increase critical thinking among both the public and aid organizations, says Kinge.

The Jury members Rose Bell Kagumire from Uganda, named one of the world's 200 top young leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2013, and David Girling, British researcher on social media and development, announced this year's winners during the ceremony in Oslo on Tuesday evening.

The jury’s comment on the Golden winner:

Any advocacy ad that can put you in the middle of the situation instead of casting people and situations you’d never imagine is a good one. This video presents conflict porn without overwhelming you with it, because you are so invested in this girl’s tragic day. You feel for the little girl as if she was someone you knew next door or your children went to school with. It emphasizes the universality of suffering and empathy, and breaks racial stereotypes about who suffers.”

The jury’s comment on the Rusty winner:

“Completely ‘White Savior’. Racism isn’t something of 200 years back, it’s something very present in South Africa today. It’s interesting how this was produced by one of the biggest advertising companies in the world, and how they got it so very wrong. The message doesn’t justify using the same stereotypes to both raise

For more information about the jury, the nominees and the Rusty Radiator Award, visit

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