Feeds

Airstrike rocks Smurf village

Death from the skies in Unicef advert

Security for virtualized datacentres

Here's a poser for you: you're trying to knock together a TV ad highlighting the effects of war on children. What's the plan?

Well, you could go down the traditional route of earnest voice-over accompanying footage of said kids miserably awaiting a better life or, on the other hand, you could arm up a squadron of attack aircraft and go and raze a Smurf village to the ground. Let's face it, it's a toughie.

Not for Unicef Belgium though, which earlier this week reduced an enchanted Smurf hamlet to smouldering rubble - much to the horror of some TV viewers across the Channel - when it aired a 25-second burst of animated warnography on the country's TV screens.

The offending cartoon, created with the full approval of the family of the Smurfs' departed creator Peyo, the Daily Telegraph notes, sees the cuddly blue creatures kicking off the action by dancing hand-in-hand round the campfire while singing that catchy Smurf song we all know and love.

That Unicef Smurf advertDeath then begins to rain from the sky as bombs spread fiery death through Smurfdom leaving just a "scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs", as the Telegraph puts it. The end caption reads: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

The ad campaign is intended to raise awareness of the plight of Burundi's former child soldiers, and rustle up £70,000 towards their rehabilitation. Unicef Belgium spokesman Philippe Henon explained: "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."

Yes indeed, compassion fatigue now requires charitable organisations to drop napalm on cartoon favourites to shock the public out of its tragedy-saturated torpor. Mind you, it's not as bad as it could have been. The ad agency behind the carnage, Publicis, originally wanted something along the lines of an animated Now That's Fucked Up, complete with severed limbs and decapitations, but Unicef wisely shot that idea down in flames.

The ad can only be shown in Belgium after the nine o'clock watershed, which is obviously not late enough for those traumatised kids who caught a glimpse of its premiere during the main evening news.

Of course, the Smurfs are a Belgian invention, first appearing in comic form in 1958. This might explain the horrified reaction over there. We reckon, on the other hand, that if the Smurf apocalypse TV ad were shown in Britain, Blair and Bush's approval rating for military action abroad would treble in a flash among adults more than willing to support any initiative which involves dropping munitions on Smurfs. ®

Bootnote

There's a copy of the video available here, although I admit I haven't got the right plug-in to view it. Ah, that'd be Linux for you. Happy viewing.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
SLOSH! Cops dethrone suspect - by tipping over portaloo with him inside
Talk about raising a stink and soiling your career
Ingredient found in TASTY BEER is GOOD for your BRAIN
You only have to drink 2k litres a day to see the effect...
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.