12/09/2011 12:26 pm ET | Updated Dec 09, 2011

Salvation Army, PETA, Other Charities Ditch Heartbreaking Images For Holiday Campaigns

Charities know that donors are growing weary from images of starving children and chickens getting their heads chopped off at slaughtering houses. So, instead of throwing more heartbreaking photos their way this holiday season, nonprofits are sharing lighter, more humorous messages to inspire giving.

"Instead of the guilt-laden approach, we are trying a new visual identity that is approachable and friendly," Peggy Dyer, chief marketing officer for the American Red Cross told The New York Times.

To accomplish this feat, the nonprofit, which provides humanitarian aid worldwide, recently unveiled two charming animated holiday campaigns. In the 60-second "Stuff" spot, which solicited the soothing voice of Ted Danson, a claymation character frets over his gift list before concluding that he can just wrap up some charity for those in need.

"This year, let's take a break from all this 'stuff' and give something that means something," Fred, the claymation character notes. "Give the gift of hope, help and compassion when it's needed most."

The video is part of the Red Cross' "Give Something That Means Something" campaign, which offers a catalogue of meaningful presents to buy, from vaccinating those in need to buying phone cards for troops.

PETA, the animal rights nonprofit known for exposing some of the most gruesome footage of injustice, is also taking a stab at some fun messages of inspiration this season.

To discourage shoppers from hastily adopting or buying animals as Christmas gifts, a common trend shelters and stores see yearly, PETA has released its "Scratch Me Off Your Shopping List" ad.

The image features a cartoon cat clawing through a couch to remind potential pet owners that these animals require a 10- to 20-year commitment and should only be brought home when an owner is ready to take on that kind of responsibility.

"If you make it fun, you're going to get more of a response from that," Colleen O'Brien, director of communications, told the Huffington Post.

The ASPCA has taken a similar approach for Christmas.

To discourage shoppers from buying anything from stores that sell dogs, since the nonprofit says that most come from puppy mills, the ASPCA didn’t turn to disturbing images of sick dogs getting mistreated. Instead, it produced a short video during which a man dressed up in a dog costume dumps a bag of food down a customer’s pants.

O'Brien noted that offering a relatable campaign helps to pique readers' interest, so that they'll be more inclined to visit an activism website, like PETAs, to watch the cruel videos and learn more about the cause.

"We like to show people how animals are suffering and also give them hope," O'Brien said. "We let them know what we're doing to combat the problem."



WATCH Related Video: