Bad ads showcase

In this entertaining and informative showcase, Jeff Brooks, creative director of TrueSense marketing in the USA, and others will be highlighting the bad, the ugly and the very worst of fundraising adverts in the hope that we all can learn from the mistakes of others, as well as our own.

Nothing is stupid about this

Soup can

by Jeff Brooks

SOFII regular, Jeff Brooks has identified yet another stupid nonprofit advert. In this example he claims that what could have been an unusual, quirky and ultimately successful fundraising product was de-railed by the self-indulgence of its creators. Do you agree?

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Violent video explodes nonprofit’s reputation

by Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks identifies not just a bad advert but, in his view, an evil one. He argues that this aberration has done lasting damage to the charity’s cause and reputation. Agree or disagree – what do you think?

A number of people have asked if I planned to feature this short film produced for climate change charity 10:10 in this bad nonprofit ad showcase.

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Disaster fundraising at its worst

by Jeff Brooks

After the earthquake in Haiti, it didn’t take long for the bad fundraising messages to crawl out of the woodwork. Here's an example of run-amok abstractionism, from the People of The United Methodist Church. I’m guessing that they had some help from an ad agency on this one. Who else could have screwed up such a simple and compelling message?

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An ad that unplugs a flood of nonprofit stupidity

by Jeff Brooks

This effort from the Canadian Red Cross shows how an ad writer can get things hopelessly wrong.

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This ad accuses repressive governments of absent-mindedness

by Jeff Brooks

As with other bad nonprofit ads, the question is this: why resort to abstraction when the truth itself is so powerful?

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Garbage in, garbage out

by Jeff Brooks

Oh dear, oh dear, here’s an award-winning ad that has lost the point entirely. The young people featured make it seem they think fundraising is a bigger enemy than poverty. I’m sure they didn’t mean it – or did they?

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Stupid misconception about the inner lives of children

by Jeff Brooks

According to Jeff Brooks the slogan ‘it’s easy to convince children that killing is a game’ is breathtakingly false and the premise of this ad is an insanely ill-conceived visual metaphor.

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Asking the biggest questions of all

by Andrew Papworth

Do you agree when Andrew Papworth says that the British Humanist Association ad here shows muddled thinking and poor execution?

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What a tangled web we weave when we try to win awards

by Jeff Brooks

Is Jeff Brooks right when he says that these ads are just fishing for awards? SOFII would love to know what you think.

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How to fail to motivate your audience to take action

Paper cut out

by Nancy Schwarz

This campaign using print ads from from Action Against Hunger (AAH) is a great example of how to fail to motivate your audiences to take action that will benefit your cause.

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Major contributors to this section

Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks, creative director at TrueSense Marketing, has served the nonprofit community for more than 20 years, working as a writer and creative director on behalf of a variety of organisations, including CARE, Bible League International, World Vision, Feeding America, World Relief and dozens of urban rescue missions and Salvation Army divisions. He blogs at Future Fundraising Now, podcasts at Fundraising is Beautiful and is a columnist forFundraising Successmagazine. In previous careers, he's been an English teacher and a classical musician. He lives in Seattle in the USA.

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Andrew Papworth

After a long career in advertising agencies, Andrew Papworth has been freelancing as an advertising and communications planner for about two decades.

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