Jeff Brooks

An ad that unplugs a flood of nonprofit stupidity

by Jeff Brooks

This effort from the Canadian Red Cross shows how an ad writer can get things hopelessly wrong.

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Brand cops mandate stupid Haiti ad

by Jeff Brooks

It would be best not to follow this example of fundraising for the disaster in Haiti. Or so Jeff Brooks thinks.

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Disaster fundraising at its worst

by Jeff Brooks

After the earthquake in Haiti, it didn’t take long for the bad fundraising messages to crawl out of the woodwork. Here's an example of run-amok abstractionism, from the People of The United Methodist Church. I’m guessing that they had some help from an ad agency on this one. Who else could have screwed up such a simple and compelling message?

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Donor-centric but stupid? It’s possible

by Jeff Brooks

Sometimes a stupid nonprofit ad campaign has an odd little grain of smart in it, like this print ad campaign here on SOFII. Do you agree with Jeff Brooks when he says that it doesn’t quite make it, as a way to raise money?

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Garbage in, garbage out

by Jeff Brooks

Oh dear, oh dear, here’s an award-winning ad that has lost the point entirely. The young people featured make it seem they think fundraising is a bigger enemy than poverty. I’m sure they didn’t mean it – or did they?

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Making cancer cute

by Jeff Brooks

The ad agency has struck again with this strikingly stupid nonprofit ad. The victim...

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Most stupid ad concept, bar none

by Jeff Brooks

This month, Jeff has identified a particularly bad advert that fails to convey any information about the cause; it also hurts to look at. What do you think?

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Nothing is stupid about this

Soup can

by Jeff Brooks

SOFII regular, Jeff Brooks has identified yet another stupid nonprofit advert. In this example he claims that what could have been an unusual, quirky and ultimately successful fundraising product was de-railed by the self-indulgence of its creators. Do you agree?

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Storm ad that ignores humanity

by Jeff Brooks

If you want to unlock people’s philanthropy, says Jeff Brooks, don’t take the humanity out of your fundraising. Make sure your donors see who needs their help and what they can do.

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Stupid misconception about the inner lives of children

by Jeff Brooks

According to Jeff Brooks the slogan ‘it’s easy to convince children that killing is a game’ is breathtakingly false and the premise of this ad is an insanely ill-conceived visual metaphor.

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Sufia’s story

by Jeff Brooks

It’s not often that an ad from a nonprofit pleases Jeff Brooks, but Oxfam GB’s story of Sufia has managed to do just that. You can see this triumph here.

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The ad that trivialises tragedy

by Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks has some more severe words for ad agencies and their questionable campaign creations for charities.

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The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications

by Jeff Brooks

It’s a virtual truism that each generation of copywriters and fundraisers must fight the same battles over and over again. Boards, CEOs, fundraisers change, but the DNA ain’t improving. Now the cavalry has arrived. Enter Jeff Brooks and his new book. At a time when too many pay lip service to becoming ‘donor-centric’ but fail to put it into practice, Jeff gives us the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of creating copy that puts the donor first and foremost.

Reviewed for SOFII by Roger Craver.

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This ad accuses repressive governments of absent-mindedness

by Jeff Brooks

As with other bad nonprofit ads, the question is this: why resort to abstraction when the truth itself is so powerful?

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This ad imagines donors look like dead bodies

by Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks thinks the people at the UN wanted us to take part in events for the millennium development goals campaign, but he’s not sure. They never actually say that. They just hint at it.

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Violent video explodes nonprofit’s reputation

by Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks identifies not just a bad advert but, in his view, an evil one. He argues that this aberration has done lasting damage to the charity’s cause and reputation. Agree or disagree – what do you think?

A number of people have asked if I planned to feature this short film produced for climate change charity 10:10 in this bad nonprofit ad showcase.

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What a tangled web we weave when we try to win awards

by Jeff Brooks

Is Jeff Brooks right when he says that these ads are just fishing for awards? SOFII would love to know what you think.

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What makes a nonprofit ad stupid?

by Jeff Brooks

Pointing out stupid nonprofit ads tends to generate a lot of controversy. So, I am going out on a limb when I call these things stupid. And I could be wrong.

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World’s shortest stupid nonprofit ad

by Jeff Brooks

Sorry if this series offends. It’s meant to provoke, challenge the blinkered and encourage improvement. And its author Jeff Brooks could have said, the world’s stupidest short nonprofit ad. It’s difficult to see how anyone imagined this ad would be a good idea. Well, actually, it’s difficult to see, period. As Jeff says, ‘Get real…’

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About the author

Jeff Brooks, creative director at TrueSense Marketing, has served the nonprofit community for more than 20 years, working as a writer and creative director on behalf of a variety of organisations, including CARE, Bible League International, World Vision, Feeding America, World Relief and dozens of urban rescue missions and Salvation Army divisions. He blogs at Future Fundraising Now, podcasts at Fundraising is Beautiful and is a columnist forFundraising Successmagazine. In previous careers, he's been an English teacher and a classical musician. He lives in Seattle in the USA.