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U.K charity campaign video aims to bring Syrian conflict closer to home

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A video, released by Save the Children UK, imagines London as Syria. (YouTube)

A haunting video, following a young British girl whose life descends into disarray when conflict breaks out in London, is capturing attention worldwide this week.

The video, by Save the Children UK, was released in the lead-up to the third anniversary of the Syrian civil war with the message: "just because it isn't happening here, doesn't mean it isn't happening."

In the video, a young girl celebrates her birthday, surrounded by family and friends. She cuddles a stuffed animal, she plays at a park, and she soundly sleeps in a car. Meanwhile, hints of imminent conflict are scattered throughout the one-and-a-half-minute video.


Life as she knows it in London begins to unravel. 

Sirens sound and confusion and disorder take over the streets as she and her family are forced to flee their home.

"It's easy to forget that Syria was a middle-income country, where children enjoyed the benefits of education, healthcare and the other basic rights our children take for granted -- not to mention Facebook accounts, video games and youth culture," Jack Lundie, director of brand and communications at Save the Children, told AdWeek.

"We hope the video will resonate with the public, particularly those who don't know much about the situation in Syria, and offer a new perspective on the devastating impact this conflict is having on innocent Syrian children."
Last month, the Norwegian wing of SOS Children's Villages created a social experiment in which a young boy sat at an Oslo bus stop without a coat on a frigid day. Would passersby help? Out of around 25 transit riders, only three did not, according to the organization.

As AdWeek notes, both campaigns take the Syrian civil war and the plight of its people and forces viewers to imagine what it would be like at home.

The "second-a-day" video is receiving praise online, with many touting its effectiveness.

Save the Children is also collaborating with dozens of organizations to stage a global vigil for Syria on March 13. According to the campaign website, vigils will take place in more than 30 countries. Built on the hashtag #WithSyria, it also asks social media users to "donate" their avatars to form an "iconic image of support" in the Faces for Syria component. 

A United Nations report, released in January, estimates that more than 100,000 people, including at least 10,000 children have been killed, and many more injured since March 2011, at the time of its writing. However, the human rights office said in January that it would stop updating the death toll because it could no longer update with accuracy due to conditions on the ground, the Associated Press reported.

What do you think of the video? What are your thoughts on this approach? Do you find it more effective? Why or why not?

Tags: Advertising, Campaign, Reaction, Save The Children, Syria, United Kingdom

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