British Girl From Save the Children’s Famous PSA Is Now a Refugee in This Brutal Sequel

Follow-up to 2014's viral hit

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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.

The new PSA was inspired by real stories of child refugees that Save the Children has helped in Europe and the Middle East. The scenes are all the more harrowing because of this—particularly the boat scenes. (Some 340 child refugees have drowned since September, an average of two children a day, Save the Children says.)

"This video captures the terrible experiences of thousands of children every day, many undertaking horrific journeys that no one should ever have to endure. We wanted to bring home the reality of what it's like for those children, to capture the public's attention," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

She adds: "This is a generation of children who have lost everything—their home, their education, their family and in some cases their lives. Save the Children is calling for more support for children fleeing these conflict zones. We want a new deal for refugees, to ensure every child gets an education, protection and a fair start in life." 

The new ad was directed by Tom Green and produced by Stink, the London-based production company. The original was directed by Martin Stirling via Unit9. 

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.