American soccer girls get blown apart by a landmine in new U.N. campaign
A new United Nations campaign designed to get the public involved in the global fight against landmines is apparently too explosive for American television, as it depicts children being blown apart on a soccer field.
The 60-second public-service announcement titled “Kickoff” shows a match in progress before a buried mine on the playing field is detonated. (Editor’s note: Click here to view the ad, some content is graphic.)
The explosion appears to kill and injure some girls, sparking panic and chaos among parents and other children. Shrieks of horror are heard through much of the spot, and a father is shown cradling his daughter’s lifeless body, moments after celebrating a goal she had scored.
It closes with a tag line reading: “If there were landmines here, would you stand for them anywhere? Help the U.N. eradicate landmines everywhere.”
The ad was developed for the U.N.’s Mine Action Service by New York-based Brooklyn Brothers.
A number of networks, including CNN, are apparently refusing to donate the time to broadcast the PSA. In fact, there’s yet to be a single media outlet to put it on the air.
“They’re reluctant to show it,” says Guy Barnett, creative director of Brooklyn Brothers. “We leapt at the opportunity, because we thought it was such a huge issue.”
Valari Staab, president and general manager at KGO-TV, the ABC-owned affiliate in San Francisco, has viewed the PSA, but says her station has not been asked to broadcast it.
When asked if she’d put it on the air, she hesitated, citing concerns about the content.
“I think it could be pretty upsetting to a child who plays soccer.” Staab said. “It’s about the fears [of terrorism] children have today that they didn’t have ten years ago.”
Not only is there difficulty in finding a broadcaster to air the campaign, there were hurdles in getting the spot made in the first place.
“We had some resistance from some soccer teams,” Barnett told WorldNetDaily, noting only two or three girls were paid actresses, but the remainder were real-life youth soccer players in New York state.
Though it appears graphic, Barnett says the “explosion” itself was simply a puff of air and dirt, so “there was no possibility of harming anyone in the filming.”
According to the U.N. website promoting the PSA, the idea for the campaign is that “landmines may not be in your backyard, but they’re in the backyards of people all over the world. The United Nations is helping dozens of countries end the threat of landmines. You can help too by donating to have a minefield cleared.”
It’s already prompting some chatter on Internet messageboards, including the following comments:
“Unfortunately, in the world we live in now shock tactics like those are needed because so many people in the world are apathetic or ignorant of the plight of others.”
“The U.N. using shock tactics to make us Americans who donate more than any other country in the world feel bad? Not surprising. Wanna call us bullies? Fine. But your real bully is the U.N.”
“This is just pent up aggression spilling out. Any time I see the U.N. mentioned at all it just incites violence in me because I know they love stirring s— up against us.”
“I’m shocked that the U.N. would bring something like this out. The Brits already have enough trouble with their football fans – how long before they start mining their opponents’ practice fields now that someone has presented the idea to them?”
Despite the cold shoulder from television companies, Barnett says there are no plans to tone down the campaign.
“There are other ways besides broadcast TV. We’re not beholden to them anymore,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get teamed with a website like MSN.com.”