Advertising done right: It breaks one’s heart – Save the Children Sweden


Every day when I watch the The Daily Show and Colbert Report on the internet, I see a bunch of Swedish ads (or Comedy Central ads for mostly offensive-seeming and unfunny shows I will never watch). Since I don’t own a TV, I never actually see Swedish advertising in its “real” environment. (I won’t get started on advertising having a real place across devices – it does, but that is not my point.) I am only saying that for the most part, I escape the majority of television advertising because it is not integral to the way I consume media. Therefore, when a Swedish ad shows up in my internet broadcast, I am not annoyed since these are virtually the only times I see examples of Swedish ads. I even remarked on one in a past blog entry about an ad I liked that included farming, a farmer, a tractor, some grains, a weird pizza and a sort of intense-looking cat.

No ad, however, has affected me quite like the Save the Children/Rädda Barnen ad (and the whole campaign) using children’s stuffed animals as vehicles for connecting emotionally with the viewer. Basically the idea is “Sexual abuse happens where children should be safe” (or feel safest). The campaign achieves its aim of, as the creative agency responsible for it (Lowe Brindfors) describes, getting people “emotional and engaged”. How can you not be emotional and engaged when someone has visualized the fact that “Sexual abuse often happens where children should feel the safest. And the child’s best friend, a stuffed animal, is often present.”?

As someone who perhaps overpersonifies my lifelong (stuffed) friend, Teddy, the campaign does hit me particularly hard.