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WTF are Mellon and Dare up to in this charity campaign?

The ‘F’ word still has a certain shock appeal in ads and Mellon Educate, which builds schools in Africa, and agency Dare are giving it the max in a new online campaign ‘What the fuck have you done today?’ This is to shame those of us, it says, who do nothing more useful than think about sex. Along with other equally unproductive ways of killing time.

If you’re going to do this you’d better do it well.

Mellon Educate founder Niall Mellon (an Irishman and clearly of the Paddy Power school of marketing) says: “Dare has created an idea that really cuts through and speaks with our target audience, pushing the boundaries of how a charity markets itself. I hope this video will make people sit up and reflect on how much time we actually waste in our lives and how a tiny little piece of planned time can make you a hero forever in the hearts of some of the world’s poorest children.

“Our amazing 1 week building blitz in November each year gives even the busiest executive a chance to make a real difference in the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. It’s hard work, but also great fun being part of a group of a few hundred similar people producing top quality classrooms for Township kids in only seven days, and then everyone returns back to the UK with the comfort of knowing that for at least one week of their lives not a single minute was wasted.”

Dare ECD Brian Cooper says: “Charity advertising can be very staid, safe and boring. With Mellon Educate we wanted to produce something that was funny, engaging and spoke to its younger target audience in a way that we know resonates. Our video campaign is punchy and we expect the videos to be enjoyed and shared – boosting the profile of Mellon Educates as well as increasing sign-ups to its volunteering campaign.”

Dare has also created a set of what it calls ‘click bait’ videos to accompany the campaign to encourage those who don’t click on the video first time to engage further with the charity. The videos use popular online themes such as ‘Hot Girl Fail,’ ‘Cute Puppy’ and ‘Trick Shot’ to catch the viewer out and asks them why they are they wasting their time watching this when they could be building a school in Africa. On YouTube the videos autoplay after the main video. On Facebook the videos will be used to re-target people who have already seen the main film.

All sounds very clever. Will Facebook and YouTube stick with it when the complaints roll in?

But we should applaud anyone who departs from the dirge-like ‘text £3 and save a life’ charity norm.

WTF.. MAA creative scale: 7.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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