Few PSAs are as harrowing as the new work by the Brooklyn Brothers for the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the organization devoted to ridding the world of landmines. One new spot, which you can see at www.stoplandmines.org, shows a bucolic afternoon gone haywire as a girl playing soccer steps on a mine, triggering a huge explosion and widespread panic. "If there were landmines here, would you stand for them anywhere?" asks onscreen copy.
The Brooklyn Brothers—copywriter Guy Barnett and art director Callum Macgregor—got involved through a friend who does some work for UNMAS. "We didn't know too much about it at first," says Barnett. "We learned more as we went along. It's such an eminently solvable problem, and the benefits of solving it are so huge. It was a no-brainer."
The violence is designed to combat "compassion fatigue," says Macgregor. "People become inured to it. We wanted to find a way to look at a problem like this fresh and new." Setting the brutal commercial in the U.S. (it was shot in upstate New York) is meant to "bring the chaos home to a nation that may not know about the destruction these things cause," says Macgregor—and to one of the few nations that has yet to ratify the international mine-ban treaty.
The spot is being distributed to the networks. CNN has declined to run it, citing the war in Iraq. But Barnett and Macgregor are hopeful that good sense and humanity will prevail. "It's a piece I think deserves to be seen," Barnett says, "and more importantly, it's a message that needs to be heard."