Ogilvy is one of South Africa’s biggest advertising, marketing and public relations firms. The firm has worked on a number of award-winning adverts over the years, but an ad campaign they created for local charity Feed A Child has resurfaced and is taking the heat again for what is perceived as the racist depiction of a black child as a dog.
FEED A CHILD CAMPAIGN
The Feed a Child advert features an older white woman and a young black child. The young boy is fed small treats throughout the advert.
At the start of ad, the boy is lying on the woman’s lap, later in the ad he is fed by her from under the dinner table. A third concerning image from the advert is the boy licking icing from the woman’s finger as she bakes a cake.
At the end of the advert these words appear on the screen: “The average domestic dog eats better than millions of children. Help feed a starving child.”
The Feed a Child advert was created in 2014 by the Ogilvy firm in Cape Town and received backlash from media outlets across the globe for it. The advert was immediately pulled from YouTube and social media users who were completely outraged by the clip.
ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY
According to CNN, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had received multiple complaints about the advert with complainants saying the advert was tasteless and racist.
“It suggests that white people treat and feed black kids like dogs, which is exceptionally degrading and dehumanizing.”Advertising Standards Authority
Another complainant noted the comparison between dog owners and starving children as irrelevant.
One Twitter user wrote, “It’s hard for me to believe this idea was drafted, then approved, then went into production, edited and reviewed, and NO ONE saw a problem with this?”
OGILVY APOLOGISES FOR FEED A CHILD AD
Ogilvy apologized for the advert, saying it was aimed at drawing attention to the issue of malnutrition in South Africa.
A portion of the apology read,
“We are aware of the negative reaction to the commercial. Since receiving an official complaint from the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa, Feed a Child and Ogilvy & Mather have withdrawn the commercial. It was not our intention to offend in any way, and therefore we unreservedly apologize for any offense caused.”