Y&R names celebrities in refugee ad

Young & Rubicam has created the first national cinema campaign for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Young & Rubicam has created the first national cinema campaign for

the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The 60-second spot portrays eight famous personalities in imaginary

scenes from their childhood, filmed in sepia to suggest period footage.

Only in the final frame are viewers told that these famous people were

once refugees.

To demonstrate the positive contribution that refugees can make in

fields such as the arts, sport, international politics and the academic

world, the role-call of stars includes Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein,

Marlene Dietrich, Henry Kissinger, George Weah, Nadia Comaneci, Rudolf

Nureyev and Georg Solti.

The campaign was prompted by a growing intolerance of refugees and

asylum-seekers in the UK. It aims to change attitudes rather than to

secure donations.

Hope Hanlan, UNHCR’s representative in London, said: ’The ad aims to get

people to see beyond the negative image of refugees portrayed in the


Y&R, which gave its own services free of charge, is expecting to get

free airtime worth almost pounds 3 million for the spot at selected

cinemas and on TV channels including MTV, CNN and VH-1. It was created

by Mike Cozens and Richard Denney and directed by Gerard de Thame.

Toby Hoare, the agency’s chief executive, said: ’Y&R is very proud to be

associated with this important cause. We hope the work we have produced

will help to drive home the message that refugees are entitled to the

same consideration as everyone else. No-one chooses to be a


The film is set to the soundtrack of Marlene Dietrich singing, Where

Have All the Flowers Gone?

The UNHCR was set up in 1951 and helps to publicise the plight of

refugees all over the world. It is estimated that 50 million people on

earth have been forced to leave their homes.

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