Published on Oct 9, 2012
The First World Problems read by Third World People
A new ad campaign from charitable organization Water is Life features Haitian children and adults reading the everyday gripes and minor irritations first world citizens post on Twitter with the popular #FirstWorldProblems hashtag.
Entitled "First World Problems Anthem," the 1-minute video features "complaints" like this one, read by a woman standing outside a house: "I hate it when my neighbors block their wifi." Or this one, read by a young boy standing among pigs and chickens: "I hate when I tell them no pickles, and they still give me pickles."
Produced by ad agency DDB NY, the spot by for Water for Life is meant to raise awareness of the nonprofit's efforts to provide clean drinking water in countries like India and Haiti.
Clean, potable water is scarce in many areas of the world.
"Access to water will be one of the most critical challenges of our time," actor Matt Damon said in a statement to USA Today in December. "There are a lot of ways to tackle it, but for me, ensuring that every human being has access to safe drinking water and the dignity of a toilet ... is one of the most urgent and pressing causes in the world today."
According to UNICEF, the lack of safe water and sanitation is the world's single largest cause of illness, with young children and the elderly at particular risk.
Water is Life's special project is called "The Straw," a $10 a portable water filter/purifier that the organization says can be used in any water source to provide clean, safe drinking water for a year.
The video's concept -- taking what has become a popular meme theme and using it to expose the irony of the #FirstWorldProblems Twitter hashtag -- is interesting and potentially unique.
This is the first time an advertiser has attempted to eliminate, rather than promote a trending hashtag, according to a press release from DDB NY.
DDB NY and a film crew travelled to Haiti to film a variety of locals reading aloud a series of #FirstWorldProblem tweets and providing brief commentary on the Twitter users' "struggles." Each resulting response video is now being tweeted to the original #FirstWorldProblems author with a simple call to action: Donate to help solve real problems.
DDB NY, a division of a global adverting agency, has done other unconventional work for Water is Life in the past. In March the company organized a pro-bono campaign designed to coincide with World Water Day.
Matt Eastwood, Chief Creative Officer of DDB NY, told Fast Company that his company is happy to support an organization like Water is Life.
"It's something that we are passionate about. I love doing work that can make the world a better place--it's a nice change from selling burgers," he said. "I'm hoping that [people who discover the campaign] will go to waterislife.com and get involved in some way, or at the very least donate at their website."
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