#MakeAChildCry Ads Remind Shocked Commuters That Sometimes Pain Means Love

Striking work for Doctors of the World

Headshot of Angela Natividad

For the past two weeks, metro and subway riders throughout Western Europe looked up from their phones to find enormous close-up posters of toddlers whose expressions can only be described with words the Bible used for newbies to hell: There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth. These images are explained with little more than a hashtag: #MakeAChildCry.

Created by DDB Paris for Doctors of the World, the campaign aims to raise funds for pediatric medical supplies for developing countries. Over 4 million kids a year die of diseases that could be avoided. The creative stems from a simple truth that many parents cringe to consider: Sometimes inducing your child to tears is proof of love.

In the second phase, follow-up ads will pull away from the children's faces to reveal more context (like a needle closing in), coupled with the words: "Make a child cry. Save his/her life."

We're on board with the idea that proper parenting is not about tiptoeing around pain or fear; sometimes it's about facing it head-on for a long-term benefit that children can't immediately understand.

The teaser phase, which has lasted two weeks so far, is uncondescending and simple: To understand what it's all about, surprised commuters must remember the hashtag and look it up. It's like a call to research before raging—an idea that's especially compelling in the context of the anti-vaxxers movement (which has now crossed the Atlantic! Good job, celebrities!).

Whatever side of that conversation you're on, this subject is so sensitive that many people will scream out of their necks without considering, or researching, what those other, crazy parents are trying to say. (It turns out many anti-vaxxers are middle-class professionals who don't consider themselves anti-science. They think vaccinations should be researched more closely before being fast-tracked into the mainstream—which is a fair point, especially if you scaled it beyond pediatric medicine to, say, TSA body scans. I'll also seize the moment to say I'm pro-vaccination, was thrilled to never have rubella or polio, and practically peed myself with glee when I heard chicken pox was finally avoidable.

You can find the #MakeAChildCry campaign in Germany, Argentina, Canada, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the U.K. It's supported by TV, print and outdoor.



Anyone else seen this vaccinatio campaign in the metro? Kinda funny #makeachildcry #imevil

A photo posted by Roxanne Varza (@rvarza) on



Client: Doctors of the World

Account Directors: Luc Evrard, Alexandre Jalbert, Justine Roche

Agency: DDB Paris

Executive Creative Director: Alexander Kalchev

Creatives: Gautier Fage, Sébastien Henras, Julien Bon, Benoit Oulhen

Television Producer, Achat d'Art: Marine Rolland

Sound: Studio 5

Digital Producer: Alice Kraft

Account Management: Matthieu de Lesseux, Marine Hakim, Sophie Colus

Public Relations: Anne-Marie Gibert

Director of Photography: Achim Lippoth

Production: Magali Filmsthe

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.