Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Fancy a dog who can write nice letters to you?

How far would you go to get a potential donor's attention in a crowded marketplace? -A couple of days ago two charity TV adverts got my attention and made me smile.

The first one was from Dogs Trust UK where apparently they have the most amazing dogs in the world - yes, you guessed it, the ones that can write letters to you and tell you how happy and healthy they are now you are sponsoring them.

And, the second one was from The Brooke and in this one a little donkey tells you all about his troubles - speaking in english and sounding very much like a middle aged man. The donkey even asks you to give to The Brooke to protect him and his friends - so sweet!

On a more serious note though is it ethical to make false claims like these? No one expects a dog to write notes to sponsors - so why can't Dogs Trust say ' the lovely people that care for these animals will write and let you know how your sponsored dog is doing.'

And, most people, apart from very young children, know that donkeys don't talk so why pretend that they are human?

Are the producers of these ads and the charities that they represent assuming that people will find this approach amusing? Are they trying to tug donors heart strings by making impossible and improbable claims?

Yet donors would not be amused if a charity that is in the business of child sponsorship got the fundraisers to write all the letters on behalf of the children - because this is what is going to happen in the case of sponsored dogs or donkeys.

At a time when many donors expect transparency from governments, MPs, businesses and charities is making up impossible and improbable claims the best option?

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