Smurfs bombed in new UNICEF ad
Campaign highlights plight of ex-child soldiers in Africa
The Belgian office of the U.N. children’s fund said it has decided to use the creations of late Belgian artist Peyo to shock a complacent public into backing its fund-raising efforts for ex-child soldiers in Africa.
War can happen anywhere
The 20-second video commercial clip now being shown on Belgian TV aims to show that war can happen in the most innocent of places, Henon said.
“We get reactions from all over the place,” said Henon. “People are shocked and want to know the reasons behind this cartoon image.”
The appeal is meant to raise money for UNICEF projects in Burundi, Congo and Sudan, Henon said. However, due to its graphic and disturbing scenes, this cartoon is not for everyone. The advertisement is aimed at an adult audience and is only shown after 9 p.m. to avoid upsetting young Smurfs fans.
The video is peacefully introduced by birds, butterflies and happy Smurfs playing and singing their theme song when suddenly out of the sky, bombs rain down onto their forest village, scattering Papa Smurf and the rest as their houses are set ablaze.
The bombs kill Smurfette leaving Baby Smurf orphaned and crying at the edge of a crater in the last scene of the video and finishing of with the text “don’t let war destroy the children’s world.”
It calls on viewers to donate.
Decision to shock
UNICEF traditionally uses real life images of playing and laughing children but decided to change it for something that would shock people, Henon said.
“We wanted to have lasting effect of our campaign, because we felt that in comparison to previous campaigns, the public is not easily motivated to do things for humanitarian causes and certainly not when it involved Africa or children in war,” he said.
Henon added that UNICEF would never cross the line and film real-life war scenes in its appeals.
The UNICEF campaign was launched Friday with the Smurf TV spot and will last until April.
“We see so many images that we don’t really react anymore,” said Julie Lamoureux, account director at Publicis, an advertising agency that drew up the campaign for UNICEF Belgium. “In 35 seconds we wanted to show adults how awful war is by reaching them within their memories of childhood.”
The Smurf ad will be followed by similar ad in November to promote UNICEF’s “let children live in peace” campaign.
French children’s program Martine and the children’s song “Au Clair de la Lune” will be presented with changed lyrics.
Maybe the smurfs deserved to be bombed. Anyone ever think about that? God only knows what evils they could be perpetrating off screen that is never known. People living normal and happy lives in the area would wake in the morning to find loved ones and pets awash in blood and thousands of little tiny knife wounds perhaps. Papa smurf is also a source of black magic and god only knows how many children he could sicken or how many cows he could dry up and make milkless with his powers. Maybe what happened is their victims finally were forced to retaliate because you couldn't reason or negotiate with the little communist bastards. That's right. We all know the smurfs were little Commies and that they were foisted upon an unsuspecting population in an attempt to brainwash our children. I mean, the creator was belgium and there are lotsa socialists there I'm sure. Maybe the true message here in these commercials is that we should be supporting African warlords, because if they're battling the evil smurfs, they can't be all that bad.