M&C Saatchi has controversially recreated the Remembrance Day
memorial service at London’s Cenotaph as part of a campaign to end the
recruitment of child soldiers.
Save the Children won the approval of the Royal British Legion to film a
version of the ceremony at which war veterans are replaced by a silent
audience of children, some of them disabled.
The resulting 60-second ad, breaking on national TV next Friday, will
spearhead an offensive by the charity, aimed at ending the plight of the
estimated 300,000 child soldiers forced to fight in Africa, Asia and
Its appearance marks a more aggressive stance by Save the Children,
which is using its rehabilitation work on behalf of child soldiers to
promote its credentials as a campaigning organisation.
Whitehall was partially blocked to traffic for almost an entire Sunday
to enable the ad to be filmed by the director, Mike Stephenson, for the
Paul Weiland Film Company.
He gave his services free, as did the actor, David Suchet, whose
voiceover declares: ’This is no time for silence. Lest we forget child
A number of major sponsors, including Dixons and the Virgin group, are
bankrolling the campaign, which is being backed by 48-sheet posters and
two radio spots that incorporate the harrowing experiences of child
soldiers into the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme. Virgin and Classic FM
have agreed to run the commercials after 9pm.
The ad was inspired by a week’s fact-finding visit to civil war-torn
Liberia by the M&C copywriter, Paul Hodgkinson, who devised the campaign
with his art director, Malcolm Poynton.