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