Unicef UK flips the script on 'weak children' charity ads with winter appeal

Campaign features Orlando Bloom and music from Harry Styles.

Call to arms: Unicef helped to vaccinate almost half of the world’s children last year
Call to arms: Unicef helped to vaccinate almost half of the world’s children last year

Unicef UK has unviled its new brand direction with an integrated global campaign, portraying children in need of vaccines as "strong and powerful" in an attempt to better connect with the British public.

Created by The Community, "War on disease" outlines Unicef’s ongoing mission to eradicate global disease via vaccines – hailed by the charity as "weapons of mass protection". It marks the organisation's first work by the agency since its appointment in April.

The ad is set to Sign of the Times by Harry Styles (who gave the charity permission to use the song for free), as well as a bubbly cameo from Lord of the Rings actor Orlando Bloom.

JCDecaux is providing free advertising for the campaign, while Pearl & Dean has donated a cinema campaign in aid of the charity's work.

"Since Live Aid, charity communication has followed a model of showing children as weak and needy," Sophie Gallois, deputy executive director for communications, advocacy and programmes, at Unicef UK, told Campaign

"People nowadays want charities to take a stand, so it was very important for us to make a difference and portray children as strong and powerful.

"We believe that investing in vaccines is investing the children of tomorrow. It’s a big thought, but we think it is the truth."

Last year, Unicef helped to vaccinate almost half of the world’s children. However, everyday diseases kill 7,000 children across the globe. For example, the UK lost its measles-free status in August.

"Vaccination is a polarising message, but as a UN organisation it’s our responsibility to discuss controversial topics," Gallois added.

Activity has launched across radio, outdoor and digital, with an activation set to take place next Monday (28 October) at Waterloo station. Content from the campaign will also feature on the station’s 15-metre digital screen.