Amanda Taub was initially skeptical about the Water is Life charity ad until she actually watched it. She wrote a list of reasons why she felt the ad succeeded, including:
No “whites in shining armor.” Did you notice that there are no NGO workers in this video? Seriously, none: no Water is Life volunteers pouring clean water for grateful children. No villagers doing a traditional dance of gratitude for their white saviors. No Water is Life SUV driving down a bumpy dirt road. Not even, it should be noted, any sign of Water is Life staff paying for or accompanying Nkaitole on his “adventure,” even though I presume that was the case. Once again, that puts the emphasis on how awesome Nkaitole is, not how awesome the viewer is for deigning to help him, which I appreciated.
See also this Times Magazine piece about charity:water.
[Thanks to Jon Custer for the pointer.]