The Radiator Awards highlight the best and worst aid fundraising videos of the year. Yes, this blog is about the worst: the winner of the ‘Rusty Radiator.’ Comic Relief (an NGO) fronted by Ed Sheeran won the prize, and the judges quite rightly shredded them for their video.
I blame Comic Relief. They had Ed Sheeran, a megastar and they butchered it. I only like Ed Sheeran more after this video – the guy has heart. They take him to where homeless kids are sleeping in boats, and you can see him trying to deal with the horrible situation “I can’t process this… My natural instinct is to put them in the car, and just take them. Put them in a hotel until we can get them sorted… Can we do that?” When you’re a rich western pop star with no background in aid or NGO work, what are you supposed to do? Sit back objectively and comment on the socio-political situation? Start a project for homeless kids in Liberia? No, you care for the person in front of you.
That’s a great instinct. To love your neighbour, the neighbour in front of you, and do it now. Unfortunately his practical approach was a bad idea – to put the homeless kids in a hotel and figure it out from there, and I facepalm every time someone says “Doesn’t matter how much it costs” (it always matters). But he was trying to do what any decent, loving human being should do when thrust in that kind of situation with no context. Thumbs up Ed Sheeran. Maybe I should listen to his songs sometime.
Despite that, I think we should be deeply disturbed that these kinds of videos still exist, and I balk at the response of these large agencies, which was not to apologise but to dodge and justify. That’s what NGOs do best. Ed Sheeran on the 1 in a million chance you read this, ditch those big NGOs and come help us fundraise for our clinics. We’ll make a video that will win the Golden, not the Rusty Radiator.
P.S. If you haven’t seen it already, watch the original ‘radiad’ video ‘giving back’ to Norway. Hilarious. Also watch an amazing wee clip from Warchild Holland, the winner of the Golden Radiator award