Charity defends shock campaign

Barnardo’s has defended its shock advertising campaign featuring babies with either a cockroach, syringe or bottle of methylated spirits in their mouths in a full-page letter in the national press.

It follows a storm of protests against its latest campaign, intended to highlight child poverty in the UK (MW November 13).

The children’s charity pulled the ads from the Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday and replaced them with the letter signed by chief executive Roger Singleton. However, the controversial images still appeared in The Guardian, Observer and Independent.

Barnardo’s director of communications Diana Green claimed the letter was intended to further inform the public about child poverty, and denied its marketing strategy had “become the story”.

Green adds: “The campaign succeeded in meeting its objectives. We would not rule out using shocking images in the future.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is looking into the ad after receiving more than 300 complaints since the campaign was launched two weeks ago. The charity says it has received “hundreds but not thousands” of complaints and will use the images again if allowed to by the ASA.

The campaign was created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty and was overseen by marketing director Andrew Nebel. BBH also created the controversial child prostitution campaign for Barnardo’s, which escaped censure by the ASA last year.

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