Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The hellish life of a Smurf

Thankfully, our kids came along long after the Smurf craze subsided into history. Despite their so-yesterday pop culture status, the little blue people continue to show up in the most interesting places.

For example, major news organizations are leading their kicker* segments with news of a UNICEF campaign in Belgium designed to raise awareness of the former child soldiers in Africa. So far so good - worthy cause, important message, all the stuff you expect of a UN outfit.

But they've decided to create a commercial in which Smurfs are bombed. I guess we're supposed to equate the child-soldiers with the smallish blue, language-challenged munchkins.

Anyway, the AP story is here. The video is here and here. Here's another blogger's assessment of the whole thing. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Next up, Barney learns how to plant roadside explosives and the Teletubbies strap on ammunition vests.

Your turn: Does this represent appropriate use of a character of childhood? Do you believe it will ultimately help those former child-soldiers in Africa?
*Kicker
= the sort-of funny, slice-of-life kind of story that media outlets like to toss into the less-travelled regions of the news package to fill space and lighten things up. Television news outlets usually run them as the last piece of the night (hence "kicker"...the last kick at the can) and newspapers like to toss in one- or two-graf funnies to fill space and break up what might otherwise be seen as an overwhelmingly bad news day.

17 comments:

Mark A. Rayner said...

Yep, this is dodgy stuff, even if the owners of the Smurf brand okayed it.

You may have missed my blog entry, "Smurf-cutters", in which a Madison Avenue type takes this kind of advertising to it's logical extension:

Do you want TinkiWinki to die too? Then use Flogg Brand Soap Flakes.

Steve said...

Good on 'em.

I find it interesting that people can be appalled by eviscerated smurfs, yet indifferent to emaciated children.

I'd personally march Papa Smurf, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, and the Teletubbies to the gas chambers if it would mean one less actual human went hungry.

Pieces of Me said...

LOL I was never a smurf fn...I dont know little blue men just dont suit my fancy I guess...I dont like the idea of using them for this just for the fact what happens when children watch it?? I mean if there is a commercial done in anything cartoon it will definitely catch their eye...I dont like it! Guess that is my opinion! TTYL

sage said...

The Smurfs as international ambassadors? Let's hope they do a good job.
I still remember when President Reagan invaded Granada back in the 80s--the morning radio talk show host for a Charlotte NC station went "embedded" (although they didn't use that word then) with the Marines as they invade Smurf Island. The spoof was a blast as the Smurf provided the Marines more of a challenge than Cubans (mostly construction workers) in Granada.

As for Barney--I knew we were finally over it when my daughter came home from kindergarten singing" Joy to the World, Barney's dead, we've barbequed his head, don't worry about his body, we've flushed it down the potty, round and round it goes...

blessings

Thaleia said...

Yes, we Belgians, shocked the world ;) No, seriously... I'm not a great fan of this campaign myself, but you have to admit.. it does get a lot of attention. Maybe, just maybe it has some effect on people... who knows...

Star said...

No what I expected from UNICEF. I personally find it disturbing. The use of the cartoon, seems to me to almost be a mockery of the whole situation.

buffi said...

Well, that is just disturbing. However, if they wanted to off Caillou, I'd be all for it. That kid makes me crazy.

CanEragon said...

This is just so sad...When I was in junior high, we had a "smurf club," oh the memories...i thought the ad was a bit much for my sensibilities. Why traumatize the children like that??

Jeremy

kenju said...

I saw this for the first time tonight, Carmi, and I don't like it. It is vaguely disturbing in a way I can't pinpoint.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Interesting to know what a kicker is. But what's a graf?

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I had the smurfs and my little pony and strawberry shortcake..oh and cabbage patch dolls!

Come to think of it, I still have some of my smurfs. Don't know why. I was never really fond of them or the cartoon.

Wheelson said...

I thought the Surfs was a cartoon from South Africa, therefor I always associated them with racism. I mean, a bunch of dudes with one girl Smurf? Very strange. The last episode I saw recently on some crap Disney channel was one where another girl Smurf showed up. Turns out she was made out of mud or something.

Anyway, I think the Smurfs are horrible to use for anything, entertainment, edutainment or otherwise.

It is pandering. Doing so with a stupid cartoon about something so serious should be insulting to us all. Just lay out the facts like we're freaking adults.

Chatty said...

I saw that on the news. While I hated smurfs (too old to watch them on tv), I really think, most especially since this commercial airs in the evening, that there are far worse injustices where the media and groups could be focusing their energies. Oy.

trusty getto said...

Seems kinda exploitive in a creepy kinda way. Hmmmmmm.

Well, at any rate, Michele sent me. It's been awhile, so I'm staying and looking around :)

Yaeli said...

Michele sent me a third time. :o)
Aren't we stealing our kids innocence by blowing up their "playmates"? I understand that there needs to be a better way to explain about children who have been robbed of their innocence and who live in war and terror, but must we corrupt our own children while doing that? Is there not some other way that will ensure that all children don't have to grow up so fast?

FuzzBuck Fuzz said...

Bombing is too good for the little blue buggers.

How about genetic torure instead?

FuzzBuck Fuzz said...

*torture :P

& michele sent me back