I've been fortunate to have worked with quite a few Salvation Army units in my career.
The Salvation Army is one of the most real organizations you'll ever encounter.
So why someone thought they had to create a symbolic representation of what the Army does is a mystery to me. The literal truth is more than thrilling enough to inspire normal people who live in the real world.
The victim of this stupid ad scam is The Salvation Army of Switzerland:
(Or see it here on YouTube.
I'm assuming the Army is the victim of an ad agency stupid ad scam here, even though I can't find a self-congratulating agency taking credit. My only evidence it's a scam is the weird explanation (suspiciously in English) on the YouTube page:
Every year in Advent, the Salvationists take out their guitars and play heartwarming Christmas songs. Will that always stay that way? Or is this tradition ending soon, because the Salvation Army is running out of guitars? Watch this perhaps the last music video and share it.
The implication is that the Salvationists have been foolishly singing to people who needed more tangible help, in direct disobedience to the biblical call to help those in need: If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:16)
I don't think so. In fact, the gritty, open-eyed realism of the Army is what sets them apart from a lot of would-be do-gooders who'd rather strum a guitar than actually work to help someone. And that's not something they're just now figuring out.
I'm also pretty confident that even if a Salvationist out with his guitar on a frigid December night would burn his guitar -- or even a nice log of firewood -- to give a homeless person on a few minutes of slight warmth.
I think he'd invite the homeless guy to come inside, to get a warm meal and a comfortable bed. And maybe start work on the issues that made him homeless in the first place. I mean, they'd do all that before they thought about tossing a guitar into a burn barrel.
I realize I'm taking this all very literally, and that the video's intent is probably more symbolic. But that's just the problem.
For a feet-on-the-ground organization like The Salvation Army, reality is far more interesting (and far less silly) than goofball symbolism that doesn't even capture the situation.
If you actually want to help people understand the Army, to think well of them, or -- who knows? -- maybe even donate ... show them the reality. And give them a chance to be part of it.
It's not rocket science.
Though it's unlikely to win an ad industry award or bulk out an agency demo reel.
If my guess is wrong, and this video is self-inflicted by the organization ... then I have no explanation. Either way, it's a towering example of a Stupid Nonprofit Ad. A waste of money, time, and opportunity.
More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.