The festive season may be over but that certainly shouldn’t mean the idea of “goodwill to all” is thrown out along with the Christmas tree. Whilst most of the world were taking some time off work with family and friends, the fighting in Syria didn’t stop, nor did the Red Cross take a break for the holidays. In a short film, “Merry Christmas from Syria,” created by Belgian ad agency Duval Guillaume, the organization reminds us of the violence, asking to spare a thought for others less fortunate and to donate to Red Cross Flanders.

This isn’t the first time Red Cross has used a clever stunt or creative campaign to drum up support for the refugee crisis overseas. Earlier last year, Red Cross teamed up with Pol Oslo to launch a pop-up experience in IKEA’s flagship store in Slependen, turning a 25m² space into a replica of a Syrian home.

This time around, the film uses Dean Martin’s 1959 rendition of the classic “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! as its soundtrack and splices together real scenes of violence from the war-torn country in a grisly montage. Indeed, the use of any jolly anthem when accompanied by such scenes of devastation and despair would have a sombre effect, however Let it Snow’s incongruous lyrics are eerily fitting.

Here, the words “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful” are met with images of raging fires and explosions raining down on camps, whilst “when we finally kiss goodnight, how I hate going out in the storm” shows a young boy holding onto his lifeless father’s limp body.

When the last clip fades out to white and the music dies out, a message appears in its wake; “whilst the world is celebrating Christmas, our volunteers are working day and night. You can help.” The ad directs viewers to the Red Cross Flanders in Belgium where you can show your support for the cause and make a donation, big or small.

Something a little different from your usual Christmas ad spot, “Merry Christmas from Syria” aims to open the public’s eyes to the harrowing truths of the war in Syria. In just one minute and twenty seconds, the film makes a deeply emotional impact, highlighting the absurdity of our festive frivolities when so many people are suffering elsewhere in a creative and memorable way.

“Merry Christmas from Syria” offers a simple yet powerful call-to-action and a cry for help. The ad creates an inescapable comparison with the viewer and the thousands of innocent people who, if born anywhere else in the world, could have been spending the holidays with family and friends. It highlights that no matter our differences, our similarities are far greater and reminds us that no one deserves to suffer at any time of the year, especially not the holidays.


Brand: Red Cross Flanders

Agency: Duval Guillaume

Campaign Title: “Merry Christmas from Syria”