Branding child sex for charity
This is one from a set of public service ads promoting the Child Protection Foundation of Thailand. The gimmick: branded images of boys having different kinds of sex with men. The slogan: "Remove is hard. Protect is easy."
Let's set aside my first reaction: that this was perhaps the most twisted condom ad in history. Then again, let's not. However unhappy folks may be with a little girl in a Mickey Mouse bra, my guess is that most commercial companies wouldn't feature a pre-pubescent boy being anally penetrated by a middle-aged guy.
Call it a hunch.
Yet this charity does, just as other charities have featured scantily dressed teen prostitutes or, to use the buzzword of the day, semi-nude drunks. It calls attention to a crucial yet generally ignored fact of charitable marketing: we tend to lack the morality checks of even the most aggressive commercial marketers. Our moral mission frees us to say and to do whatever we want in the name of our particular higher good, even if what we say or do is otherwise reprehensible.
As charities become more proficient in adopting business practices--cause marketing, effectiveness, efficiency, whatever--yeah, sure, it can help generate more social ROI, whatever the hell that is, but our innate moral nihilism can also increase the potential for these practices to have anti-social results.
Cynical? Not at all. It's just a fact, and the fact that the charitable community doesn't see this highlights just how much we do not know ourselves.