The toughest challenge for any charity is working out how to get your audience to empathise with your cause. In a new film to highlight the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria, Save the Children achieves this by asking us how it might feel if it was happening in London. The spot is our Ad of the Week.
Made by creative agency Don’t Panic, the ad takes the format of a ‘second a day’ film, with a young girl recording a year where her life moves from middle class normality into the chaos of war. At 90 seconds-long, the shifts are subtle, with events in the background – TV news reports and neighbours arguing – offering the first hints of what is unfolding. Soon the effects of a spiralling situation are obvious in the child though: an excellent performance by the central actor sees her turn from a light-hearted girl celebrating her birthday into a child wracked with uncertainty and fear. The film ends on her next birthday, which is spent in a refugee camp.
The Save the Children film is shocking, although as some reports on it have pointed out, the experiences shown are still nothing like as horrifying as those that many real Syrian refugee children will have gone through. At ten million views and counting on YouTube, it has clearly struck a chord with the public, and with a clearly labelled ‘how you can help’ button displayed on the film, will hopefully also lead viewers onto the Save the Children site where donations can be made and other info is available.
Save the Children released a follow up to this ad, that shows the terrible events that have befallen the young girl since. More here.