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August 28, 2011

Are the Faces of Joining Forces the Right Ones?

by K. Tsetsi

–by Kristen Tsetsi

Last night, while watching TV, I caught (not for the first time) the Joining Forces ad featuring Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.

(Photo from

That they’re currently in positions of influence that allow them to draw attention to the needs of military families–and that they’re doing it, period–is, of course, terrific, but I don’t know that their physical presence being connected to the Joining Forces ad is what will compel (most) people to visit the website and/or get involved.

When I see them standing in my television, I think, “They’re nice people and they want us to help.” But I don’t really get that itch to take action.

Rather than delivering themselves to the public in the Joining Forces ad, maybe the focus should be on the subject and purpose of the ad: military families.

Take Bill Mollison, for example, who – in his commercials encouraging people to sponsor hungry children in Africa – focuses on the children in Africa he’s trying to raise money to feed:

In fact, most ads seeking help or donations take great pains to deliver to the viewing audience an image or several images of those who will benefit from our help. We see where they live, what they look like, where our money is going–and most of all, why.

For people to want to give, they must first be induced to care, and it’s much easier to care when a face is given to the need. American businesses and the public in general might be far quicker to visit the Joining Forces website to learn what they can do for military families after so many years of war if they were given the opportunity to see a few of these families, firsthand–where they live, what they need, and most of all, who they are.
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