The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

Is your child in safe hands?

Is your child in safe hands?

I don’t quite know how to take this Icelandic campaign. As a parent, I realize that it’s important to make people aware of the vulnerability of children when they are entrusted to other adults in authority. But as a social marketer, I feel like this ad is increasing fear and insecurity, at the expense of the innocent, without really offering a solution.

The juxtaposition of innocent or necessary contact (the music teacher, the gymnastics coach) with a misdirecting shot that made it seem inappropriate was disturbing, and the difference not really well-defined. And the priest giving communion almost seemed like a cheap shot (even if well-founded).

But these are serious issues. According to The Inspiration Room, 93% of children who are sexually abused know the offender, 30% of offenders are women and 70% are men, and more than often it is someone parents trust.

The essential balance to a fear campaign is hope and empowerment. The campaign website offers this in the form of knowledge: “Prevention is about education. Education for children, teenagers, parents and families and sexual men and women.” (Yeah, that last bit s awkward — it’s a Google Translation.)

In the end, it’s the quality of the education that really counts. I think many parents are already aware and afraid of their children’s vulnerability in the hands of strangers — and even friends. But increasing this fear is not necessarily going to make them more educated unless they can feel more in control. In the worst case scenario, parents will trust nobody. And that would be a sad day for any child.


Blatt afram (“Go Blue”)
Anton & Bergur
Additional credits:
Creative Director: Margret Sigurdardottir
Production House: Pegasus Pictures
Director: Runar Ingi
DOP: Vidir Sigurdsson
The Inspiration Room

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more