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Should the Barnardo's Silver Spoon advertisement campaign have been banned? A study of an advertising campaign and the ethical issues involved.

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Should the Barnardo's Silver Spoon advertisement campaign have been banned? A study of an advertising campaign and the ethical issues involved. Media influence refers to the impact of mass media, it has the ability to shape our society's way of thinking and it has the power to send a strong and influential message to its audience. Advertising media is a form of communication whose purpose is to promote a particular product or service. The message that these adverts send off are not always positive so therefore, certain regulatory authorities are there to counteract this negative influence. In the UK, the content of advertisements are regulated by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and they have the authority to ban any adverts that are harmful, misleading or offensive. In winter 2003, Barnardo's launched their "Silver spoons" campaign against poverty but within three months, the campaign was banned. Barnardo's is a British Charity found by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866. Barnardo's purpose is to care for the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. They believe that every child deserves to be given an opportunity to fulfil their potential and live a worthwhile, blissful life. The purpose of Barnardo's "Silver Spoon" campaign was to draw attention to child poverty and hopefully be able to raise a significant amount to eliminate child poverty. ...read more.


However, this can be very misleading as it gives the audience a negative impression of what it means to be poor. Within three months, the ASA received around five hundred complaints about the content of the adverts being very misleading and offensive. In December 2003, the campaign was withdrawn. In response to the numerous complaints made against the first three adverts, Barnardo's released a less offensive and less controversial advert, but equally hard hitting and effective. The new advert features a new born child, with a silver spoon placed in its mouth. This refers to the same proverb as the past three adverts, "born with a silver spoon in your mouth", thus makes association and reminds the audience of the previous ads. The shining silver spoon carefully placed in this baby's mouth juxtaposes the dangerous, unpleasant objects forced in the other babies' mouths. This makes the audience stop, wait and think about the message of the ads. The silver spoon signifies a life of opportunity and prosperity. The use of high key lighting, baby bathed in golden light, signifies wealth and power and also an environment of peace and serenity. Baby sleeping on a cushion-like surface signifies a comfortable and easy life. ...read more.


This is because the media today constantly reports poverty in third world countries that it shapes us into thinking that poverty only exists there and not here. The number of people in poverty in this country is very high and is extremely shocking because the UK is one of the most well developed countries in the world, yet many people are so poor. Research shows that one in every three children in the UK are born into poverty, but 86% of those questioned were unaware of this fact. This means that an advert that is powerful, shocking and grasping like Barnardo's "Silver spoons" is necessary to inform the public about the situation of child poverty in the UK and what we could do to help. I think that the adverts should not be banned because its effective in capturing attention and persuade people to donate. The ad successfully helped to make a difference by increasing the number of donations and thus improving the lives of children living in poverty. However, I cannot force myself to agree that a child who is born into poverty would definitely lead a life of extreme acoholism, drugs and squalor. I think that it really is down to the influence of parents, teachers and peers to shape a child's mind and future and not their family's financial status. Ying 1 ...read more.

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