Unicef bombs the Smurfs in fund-raising campaign for ex-child soldiers


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rick_reno
October 11, 2005, 04:53 PM
Carpet bombing a smurf village! The horror, the horror. The URL has a picture, but I'll warn you - it's very graphic.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/10/08/wsmurf08.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/10/08/ixhome.html

The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The short but chilling film is the work of Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement.

The animation was approved by the family of the Smurfs' late creator, "Peyo".

Belgian television viewers were given a preview of the 25-second film earlier this week, when it was shown on the main evening news. The reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror.

Unicef and the family company, IMPS, which controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

It is intended as the keystone of a fund-raising drive by Unicef's Belgian arm, to raise 70,000 for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi.

Philippe Henon, a spokesman for Unicef Belgium, said his agency had set out to shock, after concluding that traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers. "It's controversial," he said. "We have never done something like this before but we've learned over the years that the reaction to the more normal type of campaign is very limited."

Belgium prides itself on being the home of some of the world's most famous cartoon characters - from Tintin to Lucky Luke and the Smurfs, known to the Dutch- speaking half of the country as "Smurfen" and as "Schtroumpfs" to Belgium's French speakers.

The advertising agency behind the campaign, Publicis, decided the best way to convey the impact of war on children was to tap into the earliest, happiest memories of Belgian television viewers. They chose the Smurfs, who first appeared in a Belgian comic in 1958.

Julie Lamoureux, account director at Publicis for the campaign, said the agency's original plans were toned down.

"We wanted something that was real war - Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no."

The film has won tentative approval from the official Smurf fan club. A spokesman said: "I think it will wake up some people. It is so un-Smurf-like, it might get people to think."

Hendrik Coysman, managing director of IMPS, said: "That crying baby really goes to your bones."

david.rennie@telegraph.co.uk

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HighVelocity
October 11, 2005, 05:03 PM
I could fill this square with wise cracks about the smurfs but the fact that somebody actually spent (charity) money for this cartoon just reeks of stupid.

Correia
October 11, 2005, 05:11 PM
Gargamel got tired of screwing around...

rick_reno
October 11, 2005, 05:12 PM
HV - I'm just happy they didn't bomb Bikini Bottom. I'd hate to see SpongeBob Squarepants in this mess.

El Tejon
October 11, 2005, 05:41 PM
*Christopher Walken voice*

My fellow smurfs, there's this guy--Gargemel--he wants us all whacked! :D

Daniel T
October 11, 2005, 06:08 PM
Why is Unicef producing a comedy?

Beren
October 11, 2005, 06:18 PM
Thank you UNICEF! I've waited YEARS for someone to finally give it to those smarmy Smurfs. Smurf THIS! Smurfariffic!

KriegHund
October 11, 2005, 06:18 PM
Children and war= bad.

Comemrcials about children and war= worse.

How the bloody heck is a commercial going to do ANYTHING except spread anti-war sentiments?

Thus i label this cartoon a usual socialistic UN idea.

I swear to you, if i ever become president first thing ill do is exit the UN.

mec
October 11, 2005, 06:18 PM
How about a cartoon about blowing up the United Nations? The best grenade that could be rolled to that entity would be the United States dropping out, withdrawing all the funding and letting them set up shop in Singapore or Peking where they belong.

tc300mag1
October 11, 2005, 06:20 PM
Color me surprised unicef was saying the usa did it or showing bombers with usa flag on them

feedthehogs
October 11, 2005, 06:25 PM
I think they should have used Mr. Bill.
OH NO!

http://www.mrbill.com/MBBobbleANM4.gif

Isn't UNICEF that Halloween disease?

KriegHund
October 11, 2005, 06:26 PM
Mr bill as in

"Im just a bill, sitting on capital hill" or what have you.

gezzer
October 12, 2005, 11:58 PM
Please, Please Bomb Barney!!!!

Sir Aardvark
October 13, 2005, 03:03 AM
I second the motion on bombing Barney.....

kahr404life
October 13, 2005, 03:35 AM
I believe the Smurfs only option is to call in UN peacekeepers and hope the USA will come in with a lot of aid money :scrutiny: . If their lucky some of the money may make it past the UN ;) and reach them. Do they need food I can send a box of frosted flakes and a can of tuna fish :p. If their really desprate I think GI Joe can send a advisor or two (off the books of course) :what:.

Warren
October 13, 2005, 04:25 AM
A few months from now Papa Smurf will be dragged out of spiderhole and put on trial for crimes against smurfanity.

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