Thanks to the almighty Internet, the world has been blessed with heartwarming time-lapse video of kids growing up. But to put the civil conflict in Syria–now headed into its third year–into a more immediate perspective, Save the Children UK and agency Don’t Panic take this concept and twist it–imagining how that idyllic snapshot of life would change under the cloud of war.
It starts with a happy young girl blowing out the candles on her birthday cake and chronicles the next year of her life in one-second clips that progress from joy, to confusion, to fear, to helplessness and then finally, despair. It’s a heartbreaking transition but one that no doubt has happened for millions around the world. The ad ends with the line, “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”
The brief was to highlight the suffering of Syria’s children in the recent conflict, according to the agency.
“The idea was a fusion of the second-a-day video format and the long-standing photo-a-day format into what we think is a completely new way to tell a story,” says Don’t Panic copywriter Richard Beer. “We wanted to show the transition from happy little girl into traumatized refugee in as emotive a way as possible, and neither technique on its own really did that.”
To get the selfie-style perspective used throughout the spot, shot in London over two days, the agency built a “custom harness for the camera out of steel pipes and baked bean cans.”
“Our little actress, Lily-Rose Aslandogdu, wore it without complaint for two days and STILL had more energy left over at wrap than anyone else on the set,” says Beer. “She deserves a massive amount of credit for (literally) carrying the film.”