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Matchbox's Tasteless Child Soldier Ads

Just when you think you can't be shocked by the activities of greedy corporations. These ads are part of Mattel Asia Pacific's Matchbox brand.

by Jeff Severns Guntzel

Singapore-based ad agency Ogilvy & Mather has completed a series of ads for Matchbox called Young Warriors. It̢۪s a rather frightful experiment with illusion. Young, white boys no older than 5 years old pose with some of the most lethal killing machines now in play in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is militarism at its worst: children piloting machines that kill children and their families (oh yes, and terrorists). Sure, kids play soldier all the time, but they are engaging in imaginative play, not warrior fetishes.

The campaign is crass enough on its own, but a tour of Ogilvy & Mather̢۪s website adds a new layer of revulsion, namely their advice on advertising in a wrecked economy:

The key to success will be understanding the new shopper, brand and retailer. Find out how to create ‘win-win’ shopper marketing solutions and how to turn shoppers into buyers in this recession.

— Jeff Severns Guntzel
Utne Reader





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