Two ambassadors

Two Ambassadors en K.O.-Producties are known for their commercials about image and millennium goals. By using those commercials, they try to let the people closely scrutinize the way the media in the western countries shows the current situation in for example Africa.

In the clips the Two Ambassadors continuously point out the manipulation of the media and their limits. How far can you go? The unique methods used in de commercials are a suitable starting point for a discussion and to form an opinion.

The follow clip is a perfect example. An African boy is asked to be sad in front of the camera. At the end, the producers give up because the boy always starts smiling again in each take.

With another movie they try to pay attention to what happens with the collected money for development aid and cooperation. This clip indicates the necessity of the following up. The reason is the temptation to spend all the money on a certain desire ( the bottle of coke) or to rectify the primary needs. Instead most of the money should be used to invest in long term goals and thus supervision is really important.

(Apologies for the bad quality)



4 thoughts on “Two ambassadors

  1. tijlcrauwels says:

    It is often said that people in poor countries are happier than people in the wealthy countries where pressure to achieve is a central goal. That the mentality of those people allows them to be happy with much smaller every day things. (Such as seeing a camera)

    In that way I understand they try to sketch a sad image, because their emotions don’t correspond to their living situations as we know them. (We think sadness and being poor come together.)

    So in my opinion, these are white lies, to get more people to support the 3th world countries. And I think the problem lies with us, as we would donate less if we see them happy, than if we see them sad. Which actually doesn’t change a thing about their living conditions.

    For the second video, I think it is really hard for kids (or adults) to look at long term goals, when their short term needs aren’t met yet. So I fully understand their urge to immediately spend the money they get on what they want at that given time.

  2. deckersbram says:

    For me it looks like those clips are made to sarcastically comment on the way Africa is sketched in Europe.

    Those sad images are intended to play on our sentiment and the idea is sketched that with a donation of only one dollar you alone can help the whole of Africa (little exaggerated but you can see my point).

    I don’t want to state that Africa or the third world doesn’t need our support or that there is no misery in Africa. It is just an inconvenient truth that people respond much more to extreme messages (disasters, childeren suffering, war,…) than to a more nuanced image.

    That the boy in the second clip uses his money to buy cola is in my opinion not a comment on how they use their money but more a comment on how 1 dollar does not make you rich in Africa. One dollar does not build a school or does not provide healthcare, one dollar buys one bottle of coke. The image that the media like to sketch is distorted and incorrect and that is what the clip is commenting on.

    • woutcordeel says:

      Indeed Tijl, the ngo’s like ‘broederlijk delen’ and ‘rode kruis’ use these tactics to play on our sentiment because they know we would give something when we see a sad child rather than a happy child.

      We recently interviewed someone about development cooperation. He said this interesting thing: in those companies you got people responsible for e.g. education, but also for finances and advertising. He said that those who are responsible for the education complain that they should say something about education on commercial spots rather than just showing sad child.

      Those of advertising aren’t proud of what they do, he said, but they do it because that’s indeed the only way to get funds. So they have no choice.

  3. gabuglio says:

    I think this post is a good link between the discussion on development aid.
    It is clear that just by giving the people money won’t help. It’s more meaningfull that the money is collected and given but that we supervise what is done with the money.
    The people in Africa don’t have a big future perspective so that’s why I think most of the people directly spend the money they have.
    By creating wealth and long life expectation the people will start thinking about their future and spend (or save) the money in the right way.
    Bringing wealth and this mentallity isn’t simple but I think this is the way it has to be done.
    It is also important that the people who the money is given to are to be trusted. Because like in the clip you see that in the end the boy gives his mother (I guess) the dollar and she takes it and buys a bottle of Coke for her self.. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

    I am also of the opinion, like Tijl says, that sadness and poverty don’t go together. But I think they aren’t sad anymore because they have given up hope that it can be better and they settle with that thought.
    On the other hand I think if you let the people know what they would be able to do with our help and make them aware of it there is a chance that it could help.

    Yet again this is a very long process and the structural organisation of the countries has to change because we can’t forget the corruption, violence, wars, dictatorship,… that there is in this countries.

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