Here's a fantastic use of in-store media by Ikea to bring the reality of the Syrian crisis home to those enveloped in the comforts of the West—indeed, those right in the middle of shopping for those very comforts.
Two years after making one of the most famous PSAs about the Syrian crisis, Save the Children has unleashed a sequel—which follows the girl from the original as she flees the war zone and becomes a refugee. Lauded for its brutal, cinematic imagery and its creative path to empathy, the original spot, which has 53 million views and counting, imagined if the war in Syria were to happen in London. It used the structure of popular one-second-a-day videos to show an ordinary middle-class British girl's world falling apart over a year, from birthday to birthday, as her country plunges into war. The new video, shot in the same style by the same agency (Don't Panic London), catches up with the same girl—11-year-old Lily—as she flees the U.K. as a refugee. Two years on, things have deteriorated for Lily, just as they have for kids in Syria and for Syrian child refugees.
Here's an interesting campaign from Swedish agency Akestam Holst that turned commercial radio in Syria into a personal media channel for refugees looking to contact their moms back home on Mother's Day.
It's been said virtual reality might be the ultimate empathy machine, allowing people to see through the eyes of others and better understand their struggles. A new campaign by Amnesty International U.K. and San Francisco design and technology agency Junior visits a people and place most in need of that empathy—in a stunning VR experience showing the effects of the Syrian government's barrel bombing of its own country.
A heartbreaking new animation from Unicef calls attention to the plight of the millions of children suffering in the Syrian refugee crisis. "Malak and the Boat," a two-minute video, tells the story—in her own words—of a 7-year-old girl crossing the Mediterranean to escape civil war. Battered by cold water, she admits to being terrified she and her mother will drown.
The actress behind one of today's most popular ad characters, AT&T's Lily, is taking on a new public role: an advocate for Syrian refugees.
Few photos in recent memory have had the devastating emotional impact of last week's pictures showing a Syrian toddler drowned on a Turkish beach.
Martin Stirling already directed one powerful PSA about Syria—Save the Children's incredible spot from last spring, which imagined if the crisis were taking place in London. But the Unit 9 director wasn't finished. With the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week, the world's leading NGOs—Oxfam, Save the Children, Care, Amnesty and a hundred more—have banded together for a new PSA, directed by Stirling, that attempts to capture the horrors being endured by ordinary Syrians on a daily basis. See the spot here: The stylistic choice of using reverse footage almost becomes a moral choice here—it's the hook that makes the piece haunting, and shareable, and thus capable of making a difference. The film is the centerpiece in the NGOs' #WithSyria campaign, which drives viewers to a petition asking the UN Security Council to take next steps to protect civilians. ISIS is dominating the headlines today, but the plight of ordinary Syrians remains critical. The death toll in Syria is now close to 200,000. Most of the civilian deaths are caused by "barrel bombs"—oil drums filled with explosives, chemical weapons and rusty nails, dropped from Syrian regime helicopters into populated areas. The same areas are often hit twice in quick succession in order to kill first responders. "I really had no choice about whether or not to make this film," Stirling says in a statement. "I was swamped by a couple of projects, and I tried my best to walk away but found it impossible. Whenever I thought about not making this film I was haunted by the images and stories I had come across in preparation for the 'Most Shocking Second a Day Video' earlier in the year. "This film felt like an appropriate follow-up to that first one—it was creatively and stylistically different in a way which would hopefully capture the attention of a wide audience and the hearts of influential policy makers." Credits below.
Banksy's "Balloon Girl" provides a fitting image for the children whose lives have been ravaged by Syria's civil war, which just entered its third year.
The children of Syria don’t have a voice, so rock star physicist Stephen Hawking is lending them his. Hawking is a man who knows what it's like to live without a literal voice. And in case you missed his op-ed in the Washington Post and elsewhere, he feels passionately that the youth of Syria need people to speak about the injustice they're suffering. On this, the third anniversary of the conflict, with both sides escalating the violence and targeting civilians, Save the Children U.K. is pushing hard for more international attention. Earlier this month, the group struck publicity gold with its gut-wrenching "Most Shocking Second a Day" from Don’t Panic, which has been viewed more than 27 million times. Created by agency adam&eveDDB, the new spot below featuring Hawking isn't as visually stunning as the nonprofit's viral hit, but it is conceptually perfect. Unlike the earlier video, we aren't seeing a fiction. We are seeing the real children of Syria whose lives have been torn apart. As we contemplate their portraits and realize these kids could be any kids from our block, Hawking's unmistakable speech synthesizer gives voice to their words. It is a voice that is no less moving for the lack of inflection. And this time, the call to action is explicit. "The children of Syria have no voice. That is why I'm giving them mine. What will you give?" he says. We're prompted to enter an SMS code to automatically donate to Save the Children U.K. And we'd better listen. If we don't, says Professor Hawking, our apathy could mean the very downfall of our humanity, for without the universal principle of justice, "before long, human beings will surely cease to exist."