UNICEF’s work with child soldiers in the African continent was promoted in “Toy Soldiers”, a direct mail campaign developed by Y&R South Africa. The African continent has the world’s highest number of child soldiers, fighting in wars they don’t believe in, for causes they don’t understand. UNICEF extract many of these children from combat and reintegrate them into society. Our aim was to rally support for this programme. The mailer, sent out to UNICEF supporter mailing lists and potential corporate sponsors, appeared to be a typical packet of toy soldiers. Osnce opened, the recipient would see that the figurines were in fact children, reading books, playing soccer, riding bikes and doing other childhood activities. The campaign was recognised with a Silver Pencil for Collateral at the 2010 One Show.
Research into the campaign’s reception indicate that awareness is up, and beyond the desired reaction from the recipients. Many compliments are being received about the unique way in which it was put forward. More than a simple message, it’s an ongoing reminder of the realities these children face every day.
The Toy Soldiers campaign was developed at Y&R South Africa by creative directors Liam Wielopolski, Michael Blore, art director Mbuso Ndlovu, copywriter Sebastian Schneider, designers Anita Modi and Bradley Stapleton.