New Campaign to Combat SA’s Adoption Crisis

New Campaign to Combat SA’s Adoption Crisis

Orphaned Children’s Reality Realised in Compelling Adoption Campaign


There are currently over 2-million orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children in South Africa with the number expected to increase to over 5.5-million by 2015. In a new radio and TV campaign, The National Adoption Coalition, have set out to create awareness around the very real problem of adoption in South Africa through an emotionally compelling campaign, aimed at finding more loving families for those orphaned and abandoned, by getting people to consider adoption as an option.


In a report published last year, only 2,000 children are adopted annually, with an increase of 29% of orphans over a four year period and a decrease in adoptions by 52%, making this a very real problem and challenge in South Africa. Added to this, The Human Sciences Research Council reports that there are over 8-million children living on child grants which adds to ongoing economic pressure.


David Taylor, Creative Director at their advertising agency The Old Shanghai Firecracker Factory says that the agency was tasked with creating a TVC and radio campaign that would resonate with a target market who do not consider adoption as an option and the aim is to increase the adoption rate in South Africa.


“With between 5 and 10 million rand’s worth of free media exposure negotiated by Mediology, we jumped at the opportunity to create a meaningful and convincing message, something that would be worthy enough to capture the hearts of all South Africans,” he says.


He says, “By taking something that many of us take for granted – having parents – we translated this into a simple idea of a child’s arcade experience and, by teaming up with Frieze Films director, Marc Rowlston, our vision was illustrated through brilliant directing, angles, casting and lighting.”


“The output sees a superb tale come to life, a story that draws a person into the mind of an orphaned child, what they hope for and how they see the world,” says Taylor.


He adds that the story of a little boy inserting a ‘no cash value’ coin into a claw game in an arcade setting, seeing a siloutte of his mother as he grabs his prize.  But as the claw drops the doll, his ‘mother’ disappears, bringing the message home and giving the viewer or listener something much more to think about.


View the TVC here:


“The message that every child deserves a second chance at a family, brings about the reaffirmation to consider adoption as an option,” Taylor adds. “As we launch this campaign, we hope that more South Africans will grasp the reality of what it means to be a child who has lost his family, from a child’s perspective.”


For the radio advert, Taylor explains, they took an innocent nursery rhyme used to soothe children and changed the rhyme as a plea from an orphaned child. “The message is that you have the power to give a child a second chance by considering adoption,” he explains.


Listen to or download the Radio advert here:


The rhyme reads: ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder where you are? Do you dream of me at night? Will you teach me to fly a kite? I need your guidance and advice, hugs and kisses would also be nice. I know you’ll care for me each day, please come get me right away.’


Pam Wilson, Head of Adoptions at JHB Child Welfare and board member of the National Adoption Coalition comments: “As we approach Child Protection Week we use this as a platform to launch our Add-Option campaign, which will assist in raising awareness by showing what it will mean in one child’s life to find a loving home.”


She adds: “There is a lack of knowledge about adoption and many harbour misconceptions about the process, however through an ongoing and focused campaign of activities in addition to our new TV and radio exposure we aim to increase the adoption rate in South Africa. More importantly, we aim to create an understanding amongst culturally different people that adoption is an option.”


She points out that we are all connected, and so, children are the responsibility of our total society to assist in alleviating this very real problem.


“As the Add-Option campaign launches, we hope that the message resonates with all South Africans be it couples facing infertility problems, single people who wish to become a parent or families who would like to open their hearts and home to a child. Those that can offer the much needed security to orphaned and abandoned children in the form of an adoptive family will hopefully be able to give many more children a second chance,” Wilson concludes.


For more information visit: or join the conversation on Twitter: #adoption or call the call centre on 0800 864 658. -Ends-


**Editors Notes**

More about Adoption & Statistics

There are more than 2-million children who are waiting to be adopted in South Africa. The average annual adoption rate is 0.2% or approximately 2,000 children per year, which barely covers the number of new children entering the system each year.


The Actuarial Society of SA estimates that by 2015 there will be an increase of 3.5-million more orphans South Africa taking the number to a staggering 5.5-million and yet at the same time fewer are being adopted.


A study by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) found that adoptions were not a frequent choice among families. Many orphans are looked after by family or friends through informal arrangements, referred to as kinship foster care. Statistics SA estimates that there are 1.4 million children living by these arrangements.


The same study also found that in a four-year period (2005 – 2009) the number of orphans had increased by 29% and during this same period adoptions had decreased by 52%.


According to The Salvation Army, many orphaned children end up as the product of human trafficking activities if not cared for properly, Africa has the highest percentage of child labourers in the world with 80-million (41%) mostly between the ages five and fourteen years old.



Campaign Credits:

Agency: The Old Shanghai Firecracker Factory

Agency Creative Director: David Taylor

Copywriter: Inge  Blignaut/ Alison McCrae

TV Producer: Leigh-Ann Harris

Art Director: Siya van Rooyen

Production House: Frieze Films

Director: Marc Rowlston

Producer: Liz Dahl

Production Manager: Kelleigh Wessels

Casting Director: Marina Van Tonder

Lighting: Panalux

Lenses and Camera: Panavision

Transcoding: Pulp Films

Edit Suite and Editor: Marc Rowlston

Grade & Online: Ministry of Illusion

Music Composition: Injozi (Nick Argyros)

Audio and Final Mix: Kwajimojo (Jo Darling)

Financial Contribution: Dell



About Adoption Voice

Adoption Voice is the communication arm of the National Adoption Coalition, representing the entire adoption community of South Africa.


The organisation’s main purpose is to be the voice for adoption in SA – to educate and create awareness about adoption as an option, when deciding how to deal with a crisis pregnancy, how to become an adoptive parent, or how to extend family through adoption. 


About Add-Option

Add-Option is the National Adoption Awareness and Education Programme with the core message running through the programme, ‘Imagine Being Loved.’


Through five components namely, the national adoption assistance centre, a national media awareness campaign, focused community campaigns, a partner programme and adoption friends who offer their services pro bono, the programme is informative and inspirational and ‘talks’ to the heart and ultimately aims to make a tangible difference to the adoption challenge in South Africa.


About The Old Shanghai Firecracker Factory

Established in 1993, the Old Shanghai is a through-the-line agency that also offers extensive expertise in digital and social media. The Old Shanghai uses a flexible structure and a way of working that enables the agency to be quick on its feet and deliver cutting edge solutions to fulfill clients’ needs. The agency boasts long-standing relationships with its blue chip clients, which is testimony to the high service levels and the successful advertising that the agency continues to deliver to its clients.



Kisha van Vuuren  – Tin Can PR

(021) 413 7500 or (083) 383 1440 or email

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