The UK Telegraph reports that UNICEF Belgium has produced a short film in order to raise money for a program to rehabilitate former child soldiers in Burundi. The film shows the popular cartoon characters The Smurfs as their village is bombed. The final shot is of Baby Smurf as he cries in a field of unmoving blue bodies and the ruins of the village burns in the background.
The reasoning behind such horrific images is to motivate jaded contributors to open their wallets and dig deep.
Philippe Henon, a spokesman for UNICEF Belgium, said his agency had set out to shock, after concluding that traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers.
If relatively bloodless scenes will rake in the cash, why didnít the people who created the ad really lay on the gore? It seems that they wanted to but cooler heads prevailed.
Julie Lamoureux, account director at Publicis for the campaign, said the agency’s original plans were toned down. “We wanted something that was real war – Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no.”
So this is the civilized version. Glad they cleared that up for me.
The Smurfs have been around since 1958, so itís certain that most adults have a certain amount of affection for these beloved childhood icons. The ad is also not to be broadcast before 9 PM, an obvious attempt to reduce exposure to younger viewers. But Smurfs are, after all, cartoon characters that are at the center of childrenís lives. Images showing the violent death of these characters are bound to have a profound and long lasting effect on the most vulnerable and impressionable section of the population.
Everyone involved in the project say that they just want to raise money for a noble and worthy cause, but I canít help but think that there is another agenda here.