Over the past month the famous Smurf® characters have appeared in a UNICEF fund raising campaign on Belgian televisions. The 25 second TV ad starts with butterflies, flowers and singing Smurfs. As Smurfs dance around the village campfire bombs fall from the sky wreaking devastation. Many are killed. The spot finishes with a crying baby Smurf surrounded by dead bodies and a burning village. The finishing text: “Ne laissez pas la guerre detruire l’univers des enfants”. (Don’t let war affect the lives of children).
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
UNICEF is aiming at adults who have grown up with Smurfs in Belgium. The Smurf television commercial was developed in collaboration between advertising agency Publicis, Smurf representatives IMPS, and UNICEF Belgium. It is being shown after 9 pm and is not being released officially on the internet because of the danger of children viewing it there.
The campaign is designed to raise funds for UNICEF projects in Burundi, Congo and Sudan, countries previously linked with Belgian colonial rule. In particular Belgians are being alerted to the plight of Burundi children who have been forced into work as soldiers in the most recent civil war. Burundi, the country next to Rwanda in central Africa, was under Belgian rule from World War I through to independence in 1962. The country has been torn by several civil wars, driven by rivalries between ethnic groups Hutu and Tutsi.
The Smurfs first appeared in a Belgian magazine in 1958, the creation of Belgian cartoonist Peyo, Pierre Culliford. See the official Smurfs web site.