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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bombing Smurfs for Money

While spending time today at home due to the holiday, I received a series of phone calls from various fund raising agencies eager to convince me to give up a buck (or 50.)  Fair enough: it is easy to hang up.  But then I read a story sweeping the web on UNICEF's recent  use of a bit of intellectual property to raise cash.  Yup: they decided to fire-bomb the Smurfs.  Continue after the jump, but be warned: there are some images even hardened lawyers can't unsee.

Wsmurf08I have to say, I found the idea behind this campaign pretty tasteless, and certainly a tone-deaf move by the UN Children's Fund.   And, not incidentally, the Smurfs have enough on their plate, what with Gargamel, allegations of communism and satanism, and the appalling gender inbalance.

And the kids didn't like it either.  From a news report: "The reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror."

Where is Jesse Helms when you need him?

Posted by Dave Hoffman on October 13, 2005 at 11:36 PM in Odd World | Permalink


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All I can say is, when I saw this, it really smurfed my smurfing smurf.

Posted by: Matt Bodie | Oct 14, 2005 4:18:42 PM

I can't think that "making children wail in terror" is their intended means. It's an unfortunate and incidental byproduct, and you will get the very same incidental byproduct from time to time if you show a)actual news footage of tragic events, b) standard prime-time fare. Exactly how is this different from either one? The world is full of awful realities that are upsetting to children, and should be upsetting to adults. If UNICEF can't do or say anything that might cause distress to the occasional child who is staying up late watching TV, how do you propose they go about raiing funds? Look at the rest of the coverage on this: according to them, the ad has led to more donations, breaking through the wall of denail maintained by "good taste." If the occasional Belgian kiddie is distressed by the ad, I'd say that it's outweighed by the more numerous Congolese children with missing limbs who might get a little financial help.

Posted by: Tara | Oct 14, 2005 3:39:15 PM

Tara: It is a means/ends problem, and even though the ends are worthy, I don't see how making children "wail[ in] terror" is the best means.

Matt: No comment.

Posted by: Dave Hoffman | Oct 14, 2005 3:26:04 PM

"I found the idea behind this campaign pretty tasteless, and certainly a tone-deaf move by the UN Children's Fund."

Yeah, it's really tasteless when those real children have the nerve to get injured by bombs, too, and expect us to give a hoot. I mean, next thing you know, UNICEF's going to want Dave to interrupt his dinner hour to think about REAL kids getting hurt and killed! How unbelieveably rude!

Posted by: Tara | Oct 14, 2005 2:26:01 PM

Those little blue bastards deserved it for the fact that I still sometimes get the damned smurf-berry cruch jingle stuck in my head.

Posted by: Matt | Oct 14, 2005 1:42:19 AM

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