Gegen besseres Wissen hatten sich UNICEF Deutschland und die Werbeagentur Jung von Matt dazu entschlossen, folgende Assoziationen, die in ihren Köpfen anscheinend stattfinden, öffentlich zur Schau zu tragen:
UNICEF Deutschland haben auf unsere Proteste hin zwar den ursprünglichen Link der Kampagne von ihrer Homepage genommen, aus einem Antwortschreiben geht jedoch klar hervor, dass keine Einsicht dahingehend herrscht, weshalb diese Anzeigen entwürdigend sind. Ganz im Gegenteil wird hier erwartungsgemäß betont, wieviel Gutes bisher erreicht wurde, und vor allem dass die Kampagne bisher angeblich nicht im mindesten als beleidigend empfunden wurde.
(„Before publishing the ad, we had carefully discussed possible misinterpretations and the agency had also tested public reaction in a survey in Germany, without receiving negative comments. Neither did we receive any negative reaction from the German public after publication.“)
Uns ist jedoch bekannt, dass Organisationen, die anfang des Jahres konsultiert wurde, stark davon abgeraten haben, eine derartige Kampagne durchzuführen. Damals war noch geplant, Weiße deutsche Erwachsene braun anzumalen. Anscheinend gingen UNICEF und die Werbeagentur davon aus, dass eine Verhöhnung durch Kinder weniger schlimm sei (?). Da im Brief auch von„Missverständnissen“ die Rede ist, können wir zu diesem Zeitpunkt leider nicht davon ausgehen, dass der grundsätzliche Kritikpunkt verstanden wurde.
Um also ähnliche Vorkommnisse in der Zukunft zu vermeiden, und auch um der deutschen Öffentlichkeit dahingehend Nachhilfe zu leisten, bitten wir alle Menschen, ihre Erfahrungen und Erklärungen an Unicef und die verantwortliche Werbeagentur zu schicken, die erklären, weshalb die Anzeigentexte dieser Kampagne sowie„blackface“ (ob mit Dreck oder Farbe) diskriminierend und beleidigend sind.
AUSLANDSHILFE für UNICEF Deutschland und die Werbeagentur Jung Von
UNICEF und die Werbeagentur Jung Von Matt brauchen Entwicklungshilfe! Schreiben Sie Ihre zivilisierenden Gedanken an firstname.lastname@example.org und email@example.com mit einer Kopie an info (at) derbraunemob.de. Es empfiehlt sich für jeden Leserbrief und jedes Schreiben der Zusatz "Bitte beachten Sie, dass dieser Briefwechsel von uns öffentlich geführt wird, und wir dieses Anschreiben wie auch Ihre eventuelle Antwort zu Zwecken der Dokumentation und Aufklärung veröffentlichen."! So wird das Briefgeheimnis nicht verletzt und die Antwort kann verbreitet und veröffentlicht (und von Dritten kommentiert) werden.
a link to this campaign was forwarded to us by disturbed readers: http://www.headquarters-hamburg.de/io/hhdemokratie/index.php?mainmenuid=3&submenuid=11&reinfolge=ASC (mirror). This was an actual ad-campaign by UNICEF Germany! This campaign was „blackfacing“ white children with mud to pose as "uneducated africans“. The headline translates "This Ad-campaign developped pro bono by the agency Jung von Matt/Alster shows four german kids who appeal for solidarity with their contemporaries in Afrika"
The first kid says: "I'm waiting for my last day in school, the children in africa still for their first one."
Our opinion: Besides claiming that every single person in "Africa" isn't educated, and doing so in an extremely patronising way, it is also disturbing that this organisation thinks blackfacing kids with mud (!) equals "relating to african children". Also, the kids' statements ignore the existance of millions of african academics and regular people and one again reduces a whole continent to a village of muddy uneducated uncivilized people who need to be educated (probably by any random westerner). This a really sad regression.
Bottom lines of this campaign are: Black = mud = African = uneducated. White = educated. We feel this campaign might do just as much harm as it does any good. You don't collect money for helping people by humiliating and trivilaizing them first. Unfortunatley, if it was clear to the average German that this is wrong, UNICEF and the advertising agency wouldn't have come out with such a campaign in the first place.
After protests from „der braune mob“ and others, UNICEF Germany have erased the link to the mentioned campaign from their homepage.
BUT: An answer from UNICEF Germany showed that they still don’t really understand why their campaign is offensive:
„Before publishing the ad, we had carefully discussed possible misinterpretations and the agency had also tested public reaction in a survey in Germany, without receiving negative comments. Neither did we receive any negative reaction from the German public after publication.“
Now, we find it important to explain just exactly why this campaign is wrong, because in Germany it is really not clear at all why the campaign is offensive. The UK and US experience can help get the point across, so that in the future this won't be just "one example of a bad campaign" and happen again. We would like to generalize why the means of "blackface" and "white kids speak for "african" kids" (a.s.o.) and the„quotes“ in the ad are not okay.
Besides, a similar campaign that had been tested early 2007 used white grown-ups with faces painted brown instead of children. We know of organisations that had been asked their opinion by UNICEf/JvM and who had strongly suggested to not publish such a campaign. Why UNICEF and JvM thought it would be less offensive if children do the blackface, stays their secret. Please write your opinion and help us make clear and explain why it is wrong to use„blackface with mud“, and write to UNICEF at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as the advertising agency at email@example.com with a copy to our info (at) derbraunemob.de what you feel about this campaign and why. Please include a line that you’re going to publish your mail and the response. by the way, the slogan of the advertising agency who came up with this, reads "we communicate on eye-level".
Your Reactions in German and English frequently updatet in our blog, click here.
Reaktion von UNICEF Deutschland
Dear Mr. Dalzine,
Thank you very much for your letter and your comments on the advertisment for our "Schools for Africa" initiative. Please let me try to explain context and message of the ad. The German Committee for UNICEF has started a campaign to promote child-friendly schools in six African countries in late 2004. This campaign aims to raise awareness on the fact that nearly half of all children in Africa lack even primary education.
With funds from private donors, since then 350 schools have been repaired or newly constructed. In addition, several thousand teachers were trained and school management improved. In total, some hundred thousand children and young people have benefitted from this campaign since 2004.
The right to education for all children is a prerequisite to develop their full potential and a basis for social and economic development. But still many governments - including the G8-countries - do not stick to their promise in the so-called "Millennium Declaration" to reach "education for all" until 2015.
We therefore tried to bring the issue up to the agenda of the G8 summit
which took place in Germany in June this year. One element of our advocacy
work was this ad which was developed pro bono by Jung von Matt.
The idea behind is that children from Germany demonstrate their solidarity
with children in Africa by showing up with a coloured make up. Their
is: "Children may look different but are equal - we all want to go to
school." Absolutely no connotation of black children as "dirty children"
Before publishing the ad, we had carefully discussed possible misinterpretations and the agency had also tested public reaction in a survey in Germany, without receiving negative comments. Neither did we receive any negative reaction from the German public after publication. The ad was published in a few high-quality print media like Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Spiegel, Die Zeit, Stern, free-of-charge. These media had never volunteered to publish the ad if they would have expected a negative connotation. Obviously, the perception of the ad varies by country.
There are no plans to promote the ad further as it was explicitly developed for the G8 summit. Your remarks have caused us to drop it from our website. We apologize if you feel irritated by the make up of the children. Please rest assured that we take your remarks very seriously and will consider them in any further communication.
Thank you for sharing your comments with us.