Santa searches for missing child in ICRC's haunting Christmas campaign

Charity shows Santa wandering through a war zone.

The International Committee of the Red Cross subverts festive advertising with a powerful campaign highlighting the organisation’s work to reunite missing people with their families.

The two-minute online film by Adam & Eve/DDB, entitled "The one gift Santa can’t deliver", follows a haggard-looking Santa wandering through a war zone to find a girl who is alone in a room. All she wants for Christmas is to be reunited with her family and Santa is on a mission to make this wish come true – but with a devastating conclusion.   

It reinforces the fact that, while most children eagerly anticipate Christmas for its celebrations and gifts, hundreds more live a life far removed from this ideal and are separated from their families by conflict, migration or natural disaster. 

The work was written by Mike Sutherland, art directed by Ant Nelson and directed by Gary Freedman through Independent. It will run in markets including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, North America, Brazil and Argentina until 31 December.

Jenni Smout, communications manager at the ICRC, said: "We have been reconnecting families for over 150 years and it is some of the most important work we do… We love how [Adam & Eve/DDB] subverted festive tropes we're used to seeing from brands to remind us of the thousands of families around the world separated due to conflict, migration or natural disasters."

The ICRC is currently looking for more than 100,000 people who have been parted from their families by armed conflict or violence.

Sutherland and Nelson added: "The festive season is usually a time for family, gifts and celebration. But sadly, this is not the case for hundreds of children. We wanted to create a film that showed what Christmas is like for these children. At the same time, we wanted to create something that would cut through the usual Christmas schmaltz."

Brittaney Kiefer

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