What could be more optimistic than a YouTube makeup tutorial by a young girl, passing on her lip glossing hints? Two new films from child rights NGO, Plan International Finland, take this familiar scenario and transform it into a shocking and distressing portrayal of the brutal reality faced by young girls around the world.
Each film begins with a girl vlogger chatting to camera about cosmetics. In “Sexual Abuse,” a man, possibly the girl’s father, appears in the background and lets an older man into the room, who then leads the reluctant but compliant girl away. “Child Marriage” begins in a similar way, but this time two women appear, one carrying a wedding dress, which is put on the blank-faced child before she’s led solemnly from the room.
Created by Helsinki-based agency Hasan & Partners, the films form part of Plan International’s wider “1,000 Days” campaign. Creative director Tobias Wacker explains the thinking behind subverting the vlog format. “Make-up tutorials are a common thing for girls to do and we wanted to give it a twist to show that for many girls life turns bad very fast,” he says.
Wacker says that the main objective is to point out that in mature countries it is easy for people to overlook the issues girls in developing countries face and that it is too common for people to be most concerned about things that happen close to them. “We wanted the turn of events to be surprising for people in order to spark an emotional reaction. And, we wanted to bring the problems of the girls in developing countries to our western context,” he says. “For us the most important thing is to not close our eyes to those events.”
The films invite viewers to visit the interactive “1,000 Days” website which looks in detail about the first 1,000 days in the lives of girls in developing countries and how critical it is for them to receive help during that period to ensure a better future.