In the Netherlands we have a tradition of controversial or shocking campaigns about fireworks safety. This years it comes from stichting Consument en Veiligheid (Consumer and Security). The Liberation Army Against Freedom (LAAF) shows us their true power. The heavens will rain down with fire. Tajikistan terrorists are used as a metaphore to tell us that fireworks are explosives as well.
What do you think, is it discriminating or is it humour? (more videos inside)
Please send us tips about other fireworks safety campaigns from other countries.
Almost 1 million people have seen the videos online. That means that it is one of the most succesfull viral campaigns ever in the Netherlands.
All four videos can be seen at the dedicated website.
Update: “We needed to achieve maximum impact with this campaign, a challenge considering that not only is the message of being responsible poorly received but it is also repeated year after year, and the target have become somewhat desensitised to it – I think we will definitely get through to them this year,” said creative director/copywriter Poppe van Pelt.
Mark Sweney at The Guardian sought responses from two Muslim experts in the UK.
“What is the campaign hoping to achieve by depicting a negative stereotype of the Muslim community in a fireworks advert?”, said Saad Saraf, the chief executive of multicultural marketing specialists Media Reach Advertising. Saraf, an Iraqi, was particularly offended by images in one ad that show one person strap fireworks around him in a style similar to a suicide belt, which later explodes.
“This is insensitive to society as a whole. Suicide bombings have destroyed many thousands of lives – using them in a humorous way is totally inappropriate. Are these adverts then for people who have not been affected by terrorism, suicide bombings and the invasion of Iraq in some way?”, said Saraf.
Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, did not think the ads were particularly offensive. “I thought they were very humorous public safety films”, he said. “Obviously there will always be some who find it to be in bad taste, but I thought it was done light-heartedly and funny and with clear educational value”.