UNICEF launches global campaign on Syrian refugee crisis

Ads, Creativity

Children’s stories feature imaginative places with fantastical characters. While these worlds of wonder can bring delight to young audiences, there are some stories never meant for children. That’s the message in UNICEF’s new animated series created by ad agency 180LA called “Unfairy Tales,” which chronicles real children’s journeys from Syria by juxtaposing stunning animation with terrifying narrations of events. The series highlights tragedies that are beyond what any human should experience, much less a child.

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The campaign launches with the first tale of “Malak and the Boat.” The film screened at the Supporting Syria & The Region donor conference on February 4th in London. The event was co-hosted by the world leaders of the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations. More than 70 countries, international organizations, NGOs, civil society and the private sector were present.

In “Malak and the Boat,” we see a characterization of seven year old Malak’s harrowing journey across the Mediterranean. Malak is one of eight million children whose lives are in ruins because of the Syrian conflict.

In March of 2016, UNICEF will unveil the story of “Ivine and Pillow” and additional “Unfairy Tales” content as part of its #NoLostGeneration campaign to mark the five year anniversary of the conflict in Syria. All stories will roll out across UNICEF’s global regions in French, Spanish, and Arabic translations.

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The violence and political conflict in Syria today is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in history, so much so that UNICEF, the world’s leading organization for children, declared 2015 the “year of the refugee child.”

Currently two million children are living as refugees in neighboring countries or are on the run in search of safety, with eight million Syrian children, inside and outside of the country, in need of humanitarian aid.UNICEF_MALAK_012816_ENGLISH_h264 (7) (800x450)

Visual design company House of Colors built a custom animation algorithm for the film that gives the waves a stylistic behavior to the sea as if it has a mind, becoming another character in the story. Using a combination of bluish and dark tones for the entire scene, Malak stands to have a bright future, with the end of the film finally introducing a sunlight, bringing warmth and hope to her story to represent what is possible with the world’s support.


Client: UNICEF

Film: “Malak and the Boat”

Ad Agency: 180LA

  • William Gelner, Chief Creative Officer
  • Michael Allen, Chief Executive Officer
  • Stephen Larkin, Chief Marketing Officer
  • Rafael Rizuto, Executive Creative Officer
  • Eduardo Marques, Executive Creative Officer
  • Dave Cuccinello, Creative Director
  • David Povill, Creative Director
  • Tamara Brown, Associate Account Director
  • Meredithe Woodward, Account Manager
  • Andy White, Social Media Director
  • Michael Allen, Account Planning Director
  • Natasha Wellesley, Director of Integrated Production
  • Jason Lau, Art and Content Producer
  • Meagan Phillips, Associate PR Director
  • Loretta Zolliecoffer, Director of Business Affairs
  • Florian Bodet, Irene Luevano, Bethlehem Herhane, Translators

Melvin Editorial

  • Dave Groseclose- Editor
  • Brian Scharwath- Post Production Manager

Animation House: House of Colors

  • Adhemas Batista, Designer Director
  • André Holzmeister, Script and Director
  • André Holzmeister, CGI
  • Adhemas Batista, André Holzmeister, Visual Direction
  • Edu Luke and Elisa Gatti for Hefty Audio, Sound Design & Music
  • Jonathan Marshall, André Holzmeister, Adhemas Batista, Character Design
  • Jonathan Marshall, Adhemas Batista, Concept Art
  • Jonathan Marshall, Adhemas Batista, Storyboards
  • Ricardo Almeida, Guilherme Neder, Animatic
  • Luiz Abud, Project Manager
  • Rodrigo Henrique, Render Wrangler

Rendering Sponsored by: RebusFarm GmbH / Reederservice

Edu Luke and Elisa Gatti for Hefty Audio, Sound Design & Music