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Do Charity adverts need to be shocking in order to provoke a response?

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Sumera Qureshi 18/01/2001 Do Charity adverts need to be shocking in order to provoke a response? Discuss this statement using examples from a range of adverts. Look at how layout and text (purpose) contributes to provoking a response. 'Oh bloody hell! Not another one...' or ' what do they want now?' are some of the typical responses when we are bombarded by the ever-increasing number of charity adverts around us. The general purpose of many charity advertisements, although for a good cause, is to appeal for more money. However, as the needs of many charities are becoming increasingly desperate, so are the means of getting these donations. That, in turn, necessitates that we - as a nation, are to receive increased images of emaciated children, neglected animals and malnourished communities; the question is 'Have we become so de-sensitised by the mass media, shocking us is the only way to get through?' Since the first charity organisations were set up, people have been asked to part with their money. For many people today, as it has always been, money is not an exhaustible commodity and individuals are not likely to donate it unless they feel it is for a 'noble and worthy' cause. ...read more.


The use of the verb 'strike' to illustrate the recurrence of the disease also conjures up very violent imagery; when a snake 'strikes'. The antithesis of ideas about the disease; from being 'bearable' to 'intense pain', has more impact on the reader because of the sudden change of language makes it seem as though the disease has struck. The use of these very emotive words, 'intense pain' or 'agonisingly slowly', also helps very much in invoking sympathy from the reader and thereby making them want to help. The language then changes from this very graphic imagery to a much more informative and medical tone. Once the reader has sympathised, the advert then goes on to talk about how you can help. When describing the cost of the treatment, they use words such as 'just' and 'only' which make the amount of money seem even more trivial and minor to us, an affluent western society, but to them the amount of money could be the difference between able to see or going blind. By the time the reader has finally reached the end of the text, from feeling shock, horror and sympathy they have now been fully 'conditioned' to become willing enough to give the money to the charity. ...read more.


This means that as with the mass media in general, we have to become 'de-sensitised' to a certain degree. However, I do not believe that we as a nation are 'cold' or 'inhumane' towards the plight of others; we are not de-sensitised to the actual issues or problems, but to the advertisements themselves. In the 16-17th century, the plague was wiping out millions across Europe and poverty engulfed more than 70% of the British population. This carried on until the Victorian times until the first societies began to accept these problems and tried to combat them. The charities were set up by different people to address particular issues at that time i.e. Marie Stopes set up an organisation to help promote birth control and sexual health among couples, nevertheless none of this work was funded by either the government or the general public and was just certain individuals that were funded from trusts or donations from the aristocrats and wealthy people. Today, the government has donated millions of pounds in aid to the third world countries. Tax-relief is now being given to the vast amount of charities being set-up and on the donations from the general public; the figures for the total amount of money given to people on the streets is estimated at least �70,000,000. ...read more.

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