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The Lottery of Life

January 5, 2011

An interesting ad campaign by the folks at Save the Children.  There are a number of billboards with side-by-side comparisons of the lives of children in different parts of the world.

There is also a website where you can spin a wheel and “play” the lottery of life and see where you might have ended up living and what life is like there for many people.

I have a few thoughts on this.  First, I would say that the marketing campaign is meant to provoke reaction and evoke emotion and to that end it achieves its purpose.  The campaign seeks to make people aware of the fact that our lot in life is entirely random, much like a lottery.  To this end, I believe it is a good idea to connect people on this level and make people aware of the fact that they could easily have been born in a different country and had a different life altogether.

However, the campaign, like many others, continues to put forward the stereotypes of extremes and while these extremes do exist, poverty does not just exist in the extremes.  There are plenty of ways that the images could illustrate the differences and gaps and yet not do so by only showing extremes.

Showing extremes like this all the times leads to stereotyping of the developing world.  This stereotyping effects people’s perceptions of these places and how they interact with them.  While the middle ground is not as “exotic” it is no less important and showing it could go a long way to changing people’s misperceptions of the developing world.

See some of the other billboards

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