Ad of the Day: Children’s Charity Amazingly Shows How Giving Is in Our Nature

'Stay apes,' says PSA

Civilization may have made us more selfish, but humans are still apes—and as such we have an innate instinct to share, which we should honor, according to an interesting new campaign for a children's charity in Brazil.

This new spot by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi for cash-strapped Operação Sorriso (aka, Operation Smile)—a group that funds reconstructive surgeries for children with cleft lip—was inspired by a scientific study at Duke that explored the ancestral nature of empathy. The ad shows two apes meeting in a lab. One is given some food; the other is kept in a cage and denied the food. But soon, after the second ape squawks a bit, the first goes over and opens the cage—and shares the food.

"We were once all apes," says the copy. "Those were the days." The spot then points to the campaign URL,, where you can donate to Operation Smile.

The approach undeniably makes you think, and is a refreshing change from many ads for children's charities, which lean heavily on guilt and pity as motivators. The idea, says agency executive creative director Eduardo Lima, is "to remind people, especially non-donors, that the act of sharing is what helped us evolve as a species and should never be ignored."

There's an element of guilt here, too—i.e., if you don't donate, you're not even as virtuous as an ape. But the experiment is fascinating and weirdly uplifting, and makes you feel, at the core, as though donating would be an act that reinforces your essential goodness, rather than repudiating some innate apathy or alienation.

The other issue, of course, is that the spot simply highlights the instinct of giving—not necessarily of giving to Operation Smile. But that's where guilt—or rather, credit—by association will come in handy.

Client: Operação Sorriso
Agency: F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, São Paulo, Brazil
Executive Creative Director: Fabio Fernandes | Eduardo Lima
Head Of Art: João Linneu
Art Director: Bruno Oppido
Copywriter: Romero Cavalcanti
Agency Producer: Victor Alloza | Renato Chabuh | Gisele Campos | Maira Massullo
Account Team: Marcello Penna | Thiago Iussim | Mariana Braga | Natalie Gruc
Media Team: Lica Bueno | Olivia Baptista
Planners: José Porto | Caio Felipe
Produciton Company: Movie&Art
Director: Marcio Leitão
Cinematographer: Pepe Mendes
Art Director: Amanda Stefani
Executive Producer: Juarez Malavazzi
Editing: Marcio Leitão
Account: Regiani Pettinelli | Marcela Sutter
Post-Production: Alu Films
Color Grading: Leandro Arouca
VFX: Henrique Fernandes
Sound House: Supersonica
Producer: Antonio Pinto
Category: Digital
Executive Creative Director: Fabio Fernandes | Eduardo Lima
Creative Director Theo Rocha:
Head Of Art: João Linneu
Art Director: Isabelle De-Vooght
Copywriter: Isaac Serruya
Content Manager: Rogério Soares
Tecnology: Jefferson Russo | Ariadne Gomes
Motion: Estevão Puggina
User Experience: Ricardo Grego
Ilustration: Fabio Vido | Mauro Ferreira
Category: Imprensa
Executive Creative Director: Fabio Fernandes | Eduardo Lima
Art Director: Bruno Oppido
Copywriter: Romero Cavalcanti
Head Of Art: João Linneu
Agency Producers: Jomar Farias | Robson de Vitto | Leandro Ferreira | André Fasanella | Izadora Menezes
Client Supervisor: Paulo Mayon Benevides das Neves | Cibele Coimbra | Clóvis Britto | Elisa Campos