Human trafficking PSA too easy on the eyes


Young & Rubicam, MTV Exit, music collective Black Iris and others joined together for the video below, titled "Planet Better," designed to raise awareness and funds to combat human exploitation and trafficking. The animated clip, set to Bethany Cosentino's bittersweet pop-folky "When Will I Feel Love" and directed by Edouard Salier, tells the story of a girl who journeys to what she thinks will be an idyllic world, only to find herself enslaved in the sex trade. The effort boasts exceptional attention to detail, but veers too close to animé-style dark fantasy to be entirely effective. For example, the lipstick-tube rocketship with high-heeled shoes for fins (symbolizing the glamorous but ultimately empty promises used to lure victims) is memorable, but in an artsy, metaphorical way. More explicit, visceral imagery is needed to deliver this particular payload with maximum impact. And the pale, lanky, black-garbed villain, with his retro shades and serpentine fingers, isn't scary or imposing. He looks like an indie rocker or a refugee from a teen vampire flick: bad news for sure, but "cool" to hang out with just the same. Overall, "Planet Better," while well intentioned, is just too pretty. Human trafficking and slavery are ugly, degrading and devastating, and generally need PSAs that match in order to spur empathy and action.