In the UK one of our biggest wildlife charities, the RSPB (or Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), which used to cover only birds but now covers all British wildlife created and released an advert earlier in the year called Giving Nature a Home.
It was simply, in my eyes, one of the most inspiring charity adverts I’ve ever seen.
When advertising fails
I’m usually quite dismayed by charity adverts, especially the ones that make you feel bad every time you turn the TV on with their shocking imagery. Flogged donkeys, malnutrition children crying, and dogs being shown as having been abused, at worse makes me turn the channel over and at the very least it certainly doesn’t make me want to hand over any of my money.
That’s not to say I don’t give to charity, its the form of media by which these big (and they are always the bigger charities who make these types of adverts) charities use which is the problem.
I know these awful things happen (the news also tells me so), and it’s not that I even want to ignore them but rather than just give my money not knowing where it goes to, without tracking down financial summaries and balance sheets, I’d rather put the money direct into the hands of the people myself. I’d rather give my time over – use me, I’d more than happily go out to any place that could use me for an extra pair of hands, or other skill I have that could be utilised.
It would seem that as far as the charities, who make these adverts are concerned, they only want to keep doing the work they do and will show anything on TV to do it.
It may make me sound very controversial but in this day and age I’m just not going to put up with it so I’m afraid I switch off.
Making a difference
However all, it appears, is not lost when it comes to big charities actually showing something good. Rather than asking for money this video asks to just get is involved, at the ground level, to help nature in our own gardens.
Here it is:
It’s marketing potential is huge. It targets both adults and children, and uses back ground music that borders on urgent while still sounding appealing.
The basic message of the advert is to say that nature is now, more than even under threat from all sorts of issues, from global warming, countryside being cleared away and built on, and the all important pests and diseases that we didn’t have 50 years ago.
By helping nature we help ourselves because without nature, because it’s so vital, we will be in a right pickle. Our food chain will become void, pests and diseases will get even worse, and our ecology system will be completely out of kilter which will then have further knock on effects round the world.
It’s the interconnection thing you see. Everything, and everyone is connected in some way, each link as important as the next and by breaking any of those links our World starts to be effected. Although that sounds a bit fluffy and rather like a very basic version of the Gaia theory, it actually makes a lot of sense, or at least it makes a lot of sense to me – I believe it.
So when an advert asks me if I’ll start taking wildlife more seriously and in fact start to encourage more of it into my garden, who am I to argue?
Of course it’s not a new concept by any means. Wildlife gardening began to be banded about seriously back in the late 80’s along with a quiet voice for more organic methods to be applied in the garden. Before the demise of chemically enhanced pest control and herbicides which kill everything in sight, nature and gardens had to co-exist side by side. The pests have never gone away, it’s just our attitude toward them that changes over the years.
What’s even more clever about the piece, are that the solutions are made to be very simple to encourage the wildlife in.
Home made bird nesting boxes, a stack of logs, a plastic bowl for a pond. These aren’t expensive things you need to go out and buy, they are things you probably already have laid about.
People feel much more empowered if they can actually make positive changes themselves.
The music, the voice over, the skies turning from grey to blue, I certainly feel like I can’t be sat around here doing nothing. So I’m not going to. I’m going to see if I can turn my garden into a place that wildlife will actively come on over, and hopefully stay.
I’m already half way there as I never use any pesticides in the garden, now I want to create new homes. Homes for the sparrows, homes for the frogs, food for the bees.
This is going to be a lot of fun!