Stop The Cruelty! I Hate Negative Advertising

This is Feather. The Most Awesome Cat. 

This is Feather. The Most Awesome Cat. 

I saw this little piece in Business Insider today for The Mayhew Animal Home in London. Imagine that, a positive ad for pet adoption.

I’ll admit that I watch my share of cable TV, late at night, when all the pleas for donations range from saving children across the globe to saving pets in the US of A.

Yeah, I’m talking about the ASPCA ads with Sara McLachlan singing, I don’t know, it’s sad, the images are sad, and they’re compelling.

And they piss me off. This is what gets me about the advertising direction and the money negative ads generate…

If you Google Sarah McLachlan ASPCA, the top hits are the videos of the ad, then go about halfway down the page, the articles begin with questions on how much dough the organization brings in and how much is doled out to the local affiliates.

There is no doubt those ads get results, but stopping cruelty to animals starts at the local level. It is the care and shelter of animals in our home towns.

As one who has worked (on the ad agency-side) of a national non-profit, I’ve witnessed the scrutiny when tons of cash comes in, and the outflow is disturbingly low.

Most agencies that take on not-for-profit organizations do the work for free. I don’t know how it works these days, but back when I was on the agency-side, there was a certain amount of free TV air time dedicated to not-for-profit. I imagine it is the same today.

The recession has been devastating on pets in Las Vegas. A lot of people simply left, and left their pets behind.

But this is about advertising, negative advertising. I hate it. It gets Big Dollars.

So donate locally. There are wonderful local affiliates of the ASPCA and related organizations. Give to the local chapters directly.

Find your local ASPCA here (ok it’s a link to the Las Vegas search, but you just have to change the zip code, please.) Here’s the Las Vegas chapter of the ASPCA.

And just a little food for thought…check out the difference between the National Humane Society and our local chapter. What are they selling at the National level? Negativity. (okay,  awareness is good but can't they find a better way to convey the message?) The local chapter is a happy place.

So, all you ad agencies out there that do the good work for not-for-profits, talk those jerks on the boards out of the negative ads. And if you’re the ones recommending negativity, then it’s time to just go and pitch lawyers chasing the latest heart-attack-inducing drug. You’re one of them.

Do not get me started on the Humane Society. I have a personal story that still keeps me awake almost 15 years later. Someday I’ll write about it. But now it’s time to go to my happy place.

To think I was going to post about timesheets today. Hmm.