Teenage Affluenza Is Spreading Fast
World Vision Australia has hit the YouTube charts with its viral video on affluence, “Teenage Affluenza Is Spreading Fast”. Erin is a fifteen year old girl living deep in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. She is at risk from teenage affluenza, like five million children and teenagers in her country. She still sleeps in the wooden colonial bed her parents bought her when she was ten. Although meals, travel and education is available to girls like Erin, many are forced to live on less than $40 pocket money each week. Erin’s iPod only holds 1 GB. And so the satirical commentary continues.
Juxtaposed with Erin’s ‘tragic life’ is the reality faced by children and teenagers in Vietnam, Sudan and other countries affected by famine and the long term impact of civil war. The video ends with the message “Do something else. Do something real. Do something.”
The WorldVisionStir YouTube channel encourages viewers to register with www.40hourfamine.com (Australia) www.30hourfamine.org (USA), fund raising projects, or become a world stirrer at www.stir.org.au and receive free monthly StirMails.
Posted at YouTube on June 12, the Teenage Affluenza video has already had 450,000 hits. The video was first made for a promotion kit for the 40 Hour Famine, to be used in Australian schools. The video can be found on the DVD made available to local promoters. World Vision media staff worked with Rohan Zerna Films, Melbourne, who had worked on previous spots for World Vision. The team decided to take the route of irony, providing a spoof feel. The budget wasn’t high. A family friend of the producer starred as the Melbourne teenager. The voiceover was donated by a regular with World Vision promotions. Overseas footage, already held by World Vision Australia, was spliced into the story.
The decision to take the online video onto the internet was a deliberate choice. A MySpace site, (www.myspace.com/stirmyworld) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/WorldVisionStir) were registered in the hope that young people themselves would spread the word and interact with the ideas and actions evoked in them through the video. A staff member was allocated to stirring conversation and feeding new content over time onto the net.