ID Comms

Amnesty misses the point with even-handed depiction of cruelty in new TBWA Paris campaign

Is this an opportunity missed?

Here’s the new ad from TBWA Paris for Amnesty International showing Iraq/Afghanistan cruelties inflicted by Americans and then the same poor sap being brutalised by muslims. With a few shots of an African guerilla army tacked on the end.

Making the point that all Amnesty’s donations come from the public, not those evil bastards, like governments and their privately-owned handmaidens the ‘security’ companies, who inflict such cruelty in the name of peace-loving Western democracy (and other points of view, let’s be fair).

But there’s a bigger issue to address here. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the supposed ‘mastermind’ behind 9/11, is currently being tried for his life at a hearing in Guantanamo Bay (not a proper US court) after being ‘waterboarded’ (drowning simulation) 183 times by the authorities who are charging him and also acting as judge and jury.

This isn’t what George Washington or Robert Peel (British prime minister in the 1840s who repealed the exploitative Corn Laws, supported Catholic emancipation and ended the Irish potato famine), anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce or Franklin Roosevelt stood for. They were principled politicians who realised we’d moved on a bit from the Spanish Inquisition.

It’s shocking that you have to go back nearly 70 years to find a western politician with a bit of ‘civil liberties’ backbone. Supporters of JFK might disagree, but he wasn’t around long enough for the case to be made.

This is the issue Amnesty should be addressing. Sadly, in this ad, it doesn’t.

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9/11 afghanistan amnesty international brutality civil liberties Franklin Roosevelt fund-raising ad George Washington guantanomo bay Iraq JFK Khalid Sheikh Mohammed muslims Robert Peel spanish inquisition tbwa paris waterboarding western democracies William Wilberforce

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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