UK Government marketing campaign devalues artists while using free images from Unsplash

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Coronavirus has hit all of us, but artists and creators are among those who were hit really hard. UK Government decided to hit them even harder in a marketing campaign that completely devaluates their jobs. Not only does it mock artists, but it also uses free photos found on Unsplash, So, it’s no wonder that it faced a strong backlash and it was soon taken down.

Choreographer and director Sir Matthew Bourne tweeted one of the campaign photos and wrote: “This has to be a joke? Right?” The image shows a ballerina and reads: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet). Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.”

The ad was reportedly attributed to the HM Government and the National Cyber Security Centre’s program CyberFirst. The program was launched to encourage young people to get into tech, according to the BBC. However, it’s wrong on so many levels. It undermines artists who have had enough hard time during this weird year. Not to mention that the photos for the campaign were downloaded for free.

As an artist, writer and creator myself, I would prefer keeping the job I that I studied and trained for. I would prefer to keep writing and taking photos, as I have been doing for years. I wouldn’t just want to give it up and do something else, something that I’m utterly untalented for. And it looks like there are plenty of people who share my opinion.

What’s more, it wasn’t only artists who were hit by the coronavirus crisis and this idiotic campaign. Folks from other fields were “encouraged” to switch careers, too.

Many people criticized the ad on Twitter, and I can see why. I don’t know about the UK Government, but I know that the Serbian one didn’t do much to help and support artists during the pandemic. Judging from the tweets, the situation was pretty much similar in the UK. And as if it weren’t enough, they just encouraged them to switch careers. Just like that.
I personally think this campaign is a disgrace. And it made me remember a status I recently read somewhere on Facebook: “If you think artists are useless try to spend your quarantine without music, books, poems, movies, and paintings.” I’d add – try making your stupid campaign without photographers, copywriters, and designers. And once everything opens again, try visiting theaters, cinemas, and concerts without actors, directors, ballerinas, singers, dancers, musicians… Try replacing them all with IT folks and see how that works for ya!

[via BBC]

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