Monday, October 10, 2005

Unicef wins the "Why on Earth?" Award

Here's an article on a new ad for Unicef in Belgium: Unicef bombs the Smurfs in fund-raising campaign for ex-child soldiers

The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The short but chilling film is the work of Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement.

The animation was approved by the family of the Smurfs' late creator, "Peyo".

Belgian television viewers were given a preview of the 25-second film earlier this week, when it was shown on the main evening news. The reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror.

Unicef and the family company, IMPS, which controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

What on Earth are they thinking? Lets bomb Disneyland in an advertisement to achieve shock factor that we can't get because we've exploited the war-torn children images so much that people are not sensitive anymore? Then on top of it, they make it so generic, that we haven't a clue what they're talking about...except it appears to be anti-war. Specialness.

However, I love this quote from the comments at LGF:

Or maybe they can have an episode where Azrael, Gargamel's cat, is trying to assassinate Papa Smurf with a car bomb for being a collaborator but Marine-Smurf snipes him through the window before he reaches the Smurf Hut.

They could end the episode with "Don't let terrorists murder innocent people."



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