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WaterIsLife #firstworldproblems ad

In 2012, this advertisement was produced by DDB New York’s agency for WATERisLIFE, a non-profit that provides clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education to communities in need. WATERisLIFE uses its funds to create community-driven projects and distribute straw filters during emergency crisis to provide immediate clean water. Following Haiti’s catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, a film crew went to capture locals reading posts under the popular Western hashtag, #FirstWorldProblems. The video follows children, adults, and mothers in their local rural villages. In an attempt to demonstrate the insignificance of so-called first world problems, WATERisLIFE urges viewers to focus on what “really” matters and donate to increase access to clean drinking water.


Why did the producers choose these specific individuals, settings and dialogue for this piece? What are they talking about, and how do their out of context statements lend to the overall message of the video?

What problem is this advertisement attempting to address? Does this clip adequately address it? Why or why not?

How does this advertisement challenge or reinforce your perception of the developing world and who lives there?

What attitude does the video create towards “#FirstWorldProblems”? Are all problems of the so-called first world invalid? What are the potential implications of drawing a simple dichotomy betweeen “first world” and “third world”?


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