Ad of the Day: Give-a-Shit.org | Adweek Ad of the Day: Give-a-Shit.org | Adweek
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Ad of the Day: Give-a-Shit.org

MTV and Nikki Reed just want you to care, preferably while on the toilet

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Every day, our global community faces an endless list of serious issues, from famine to poverty to global warming. Now, evidently as part of an MTV campaign, Twilight star Nikki Reed is asking people everywhere to "give a shit"—both figuratively and, ahem, literally.

"I may be famous, but I actually give a shit," the actress says in the sort-of-mock PSA below. The Give a Shit movement, she says, is based on the Dalai Lama's theory (heavily paraphrased) that "If enough people take the time to simply give a shit about the world's problems, even if they don't actually do anything but just give a shit about them, the world's problems will cease to exist."

According to the site's privacy policy and copyright statements, Give-a-Shit.org is a production of MTV Networks. And encouraging the world's youth to care about important issues sounds like a decent premise. But it turns out that MTV, unable to resist a dose of shock value, wants us to take time to "give a shit" while actually giving a shit, which Reed explains while seated, pants down, on a toilet. Necessary? Not really. A montage of crude fake testimonials from shit-giving people (including a foulmouthed toddler) amps up the joke value, helping to negate the PSA's legitimate message.

Also, while the power of positive thinking is certainly admirable, just "giving a shit" about an issue isn't going to accomplish much. Nowhere do the PSA or the Give-A-Shit.org site actually ask people to take action—like volunteering or donating to a cause—beyond sending the occasional tweet while relieving themselves. Sure, it would be great if everyone cared a little more about our world (and not just in the bathroom), but if it doesn't use its power to actively promote change, MTV's social-awareness campaign becomes little more than a juvenile publicity stunt.