Violent video explodes nonprofit’s reputation

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?

Written by
Jeff Brooks
Added
May 14, 2013

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.

While I have decided to include it, I’m not going to label it as stupid. This is worse: this is evil. As I hope never to encounter anything as reprehensible as this ever again, I hope it won’t become a new series.

Watch the ad. Though, I can’t recommend it and, if you do, you’re likely to feel a little ill afterwards.


Apparently it was meant to be funny and amusing – a jokey, light-hearted fantasy about reducing people who don’t agree with you (including children) to splatters of bloody pulp. Hilarious.

To their credit, the 10:10 campaign has withdrawn this film. But you just have to ask how did this happen? How did something so vile get approved?

While I have no insider-knowledge, I’ll hazard a guess. Was it because it was made by famous Hollywood professionals (the film was directed by well-known director Richard Curtis and features a cast including film star Gillian Anderson and England footballer Peter Crouch)? And just as charities are sometimes blinded by the glamour of ad agencies into doing adverts that shouldn’t really exist, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood must have made their brains turn off so they accepted and signed-off this awful video.

In this case, the result of being dazzled was even worse than it is when ad agencies create stupid, wasteful messages.

Sometimes Hollywood films are so violent and thuggishly vicious you get the feeling you're looking straight into some kind of demonic heart of darkness. Many make the claim that it's all just a joke. This film has that same feeling.

It doesn’t even make a case for reducing your carbon footprint. It just says people who don’t get it deserve violent summary executions at the hands of low-level bureaucrats. After I saw it, I had a strong urge to drive my car more than usual and cut down some trees – anything to dissociate myself from the wickedness.

This film has made 10:10, no doubt a well-meaning and good-hearted nonprofit organisation, look like a pack of psychos. They’ve handed the climate change sceptics a perfect reason to claim that environmentalists are anti-human extremists. They've done lasting, maybe irreparable, damage to their own reputation and to their cause in general.

Please don’t let it happen to you. If someone cool and famous offers you something, you still need to think carefully and critically about what he will do and what it will achieve. It might not necessarily be good. And it could be the worst thing that ever happens to you.

About the author: Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks has served the nonprofit community for more than 30 years, working as a writer and creative director on behalf of a variety of organisations including CARE, World Vision, Feeding America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, National Wildlife Federation, and many more. He blogs at Future Fundraising Now and Moceanic. In previous careers, he’s been an English teacher and a classical musician. He lives in Seattle in the USA.

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