The Barnardo’s advert, currently casting a black shadow over commercial TV, will continue to air despite attracting almost 500 complaints. According to the Advertising Standards Authority the advert was ‘justified,’ despite some of the complainants being victims of abuse who found the advert ‘distressing.’
Before we tackle the commercial itself it’s worth noting the power of the buck in this instance. Barnardo’s are paying a lot of money to run this advert. If they weren’t I should imagine 500 complaints would see the bastard taken off the air at once, especially ones from abuse victims. This is something the BBC, a publicly funded organisation, don’t have in their favour. Complain about them and a national scandal emerges, moan about your rights as a viewer after suffering shock following a confrontation with poorly judged and sensationalist shit such as this offing from Barnardo’s and you get brushed off like pubic hair that’s escaped from Stalag Luft Underpant.
The main problem with the advert is that it makes no fucking sense.
Yes, we get the cycle of abuse thing on paper but how does this offing from a Children’s Charity reinforce this? Who is this targeted at?
Teachers who don’t listen to adult women in school uniforms saying ‘I don’t understand’? That rotter who gives her a good smack round the head as she’s trying to eat toast?
Even if this was made clear I’m not sure where Barnardo’s fit into all this and am now left confused as to what Barnado’s actually do. I thought Barnardo’s was a children’s home. Are they advertising for residents or what?
The advert falls on its arse from the off by the choice of lead. The blonde ‘teen’ could be anything from 18 to 35. Either way, the character doesn’t have ‘vulnerability’ written all over her. In fact, the first thing you notice is she’s quite hot with big tits.
The choice of the ‘cycle of abuse’ is bizarre too. Not just the sequence of events, but the situations in which our heroine finds herself in. First off, we see her assaulting someone so our sympathies aren’t really engaged with her. When we see her crying in nick, a few of us probably thought she jolly well deserved it (what-ho).
Then comes the hitting scene which is as powerful as it is upsetting. Between you and me, it’s very well done, but it can’t be justified in any rational way as it doesn’t function outside of what it is… which is ‘nasty’.
The final scene of her getting whacked on horse is more farcical than hard-hitting. The makers may as well have portrayed her with a dribbling tongue hanging out, trying to catch imaginary butterflies over a Jefferson Starship soundtrack. Speeding the sequence up (instead, perhaps, on focusing on her welfare when she was younger which may have saved the whole shambles) demonstrates an ironic ‘fuck it, this’ll do’ mentality.
Should it be banned?
Not really, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and through foul means or fair, many more people will now have heard of Barnardo’s. Its just a shame that because of the poor way they’ve portrayed themselves you’ll have to find out what they actually do via other sources. The twits.