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Schooling Our Consciousness

An often, neglected fact is that our good and bad life experiences and lessons as impressionable adolescents, shapes our social behaviour and influences our beliefs as adults.

The importance therefore, of stimulating a consciousness at a young age of respecting the human dignity of every person one comes into contact with, cannot be underestimated.

1. Western Cape Government South Africa, School-Bully

Advertising Agency: FCB, Cape Town, South Africa

Directed By Bruno Bossi, the commercial features the filming of an enactment of a fake school bullying incident. All too often real-life incidents such as these are recorded on smartphones and shared on Social Media without pupils realising just how much damage, hurt and humiliation they are causing.

Psychologists helped prepare the six questions of the film scenario to make pupils think about the morality of their actions and to be conscious of the degrading consequences they can have on the human dignity of others.

2. Headspace, Reword to End Cyber Bullying

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Melbourne

Research conducted by the Australian government revealed that the country has one of the highest rates of cyber-bullying in the world.

Leo Burnett reacted by initiating a working partnership with an organisation called ‘Headspace’ to come up with a technological innovation in real time named ‘Reword’ to combat on-line abuse.

Plan International Belgium, Schoolgirl Pregnancies

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. They strive for a just world, working together with children, their supporters and partners.

Teen pregnancy is not a common problem in Belgium, but in many countries due to poverty, a lack of sexual education, male hierarchical pressure and child-brides, it is growing social concern that we in South Africa know only too well with an average of 15,000 schoolgirl pregnancies per year.

These pregnant schoolgirls not only face becoming social outcasts amongst their peers, they also face a lack of empathy and understanding about their life circumstances, having to leave school and not being able to return, and the likelihood of a dismally grim future without a decent education.

3. Plan International Belgium, Gabriela

Advertising Agency: Duval Guillaume Modem, Brussels, Belgium

Directed by Jan Boon with great human insight and sensitivity, the commercial aims to motivate 4 million ‘raised hands’ in support of every girl’s right to have a formal education, and for young and old to register their support online at ‘planbelgie’ or ‘planbelgique’.

The ‘raised-hands’ campaign was used by Plan International to petition the United Nations Human Rights Council to recognise and acknowledge that the protection of every girl’s right to a decent education is a critical priority.

4. Free Girl Movement India, School of Justice

Advertising Agency: JWT, Amsterdam

After being approached to help raise awareness about child prostitution for ‘India’s Free Girl Movement’, JWT took the insightful and pro-active initiative of setting up a ‘School of Justice’ to help child prostitution victims become lawyers.

They concluded from their research that a conventional advertising campaign would not be sufficient to sustain any meaningful progress in seeking redress and justice.

Their aim is to make a real-world impact by educating young women, who previously worked in brothels, for a career in law, armed with the insightful understanding of this social scourge and its causes.

5. Foster Homes Norway, The Lunchbox

Advertising Agency: Kitchen Leo Burnett, Oslo

This commercial is part of a campaign for the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, to recruit more foster homes. Directed by Jens Lien with admirable sensitivity, this emotive story quietly demonstrates the power of community and ends with the insightful message that ‘solutions are often closer than you think’.

The lunchbox story motivated 120 Million views in the first week of airing. The moral of the message about the upliftment of disadvantaged children by caring communities resonated throughout Scandinavia and far beyond.