UNICEF Anti-War Commercial Blows Up Smurfs
Along the lines of the United Nations Mine Action Service commercial which which shows a girl who, while playing soccer, steps on a land mine and gets blown up, UNICEF in Belgium has created an anti-war commercial which shows Smurf characters getting shot to pieces by warplanes. The spot, which aims to raise money for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi and carries the tagline "Don't let war affect the lives of children," is set to air this week. After viewing a preview of the spot, reactions ranged from approval to shock to terror in children.
UNICEF spokesman Philippe Henon explains the approach was needed to grab attention, "It's controversial. We have never done something like this before, but we've learned over the years that the reaction to the more normal type of campaign is very limited." Acknowledging the potential reaction, UNICEF has promised the spot will air only after 9PM.
The Smurf characters, which have been around since 1958, along with Tintin and Lucky Luke were created in Belgium and family members of the late Smurf creator, Peyo, gave permission to use the characters. Publicis created the spot which can be viewed in the middle of this news report.