Barnardo’s: There are no silver spoons for children born into poverty
This print advertisement campaign for a charity came under intense criticism for being offensive after it was published in leading newspapers in UK. The advertisements with a tag line, there are no silver spoons for children born into poverty, has shown a photograph of a new-born child who had a cockroach crawling out of his mouth. The text of the ad reads, ‘Baby Greg is one minute old. He should have a bright future. Poverty is waiting to rob Greg of hope and spirit and is likely to lead him to a future of squalor. We can’t end poverty but we can provide the practical skills that Greg and thousands of others in the UK need to stop it predetermining their lives. Don’t let poverty destroy a future’.
The second advertisement of the campaign has shown a photograph of a newborn baby who had a syringe in her mouth. The complaints alleged that the advertisements were offensive, shocking and unduly distressing, especially if seen by children. Complaints also contended that the advertisements were irresponsible and could encourage emulation by children.
The advertisers had argued that they had intended to draw attention to child poverty and to encourage donations for their work with children living in poverty. They further maintained that, like road-safety or anti-smoking campaigns, the advertisements caused distress with good reason. However, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the advertisers had used shocking images to attract attention and that the photographs were likely to cause serious or widespread offence. It told the advertisers not to repeat the advertisements.
The Authority also acknowledged the seriousness of the message. The agency noted that the advertisement appeared in national dailies that targeted adults not children hence the advertisements were unlikely to encourage emulation by children.