And I thought we in the Netherlands have a problem with fireworks during the New Year celebrations. In some countries it is a lot worse. Like in Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico, children have died in the past two years on New Year’s Eve as a result of stray bullets originated by the unfortunate practice of firing weapons into the air as part of the 31st December celebration. Many people have also been wounded in years past celebrations.
Agency Badillo Saatchi & Saatchi made a campaign about this problem entitled Niños Contra Balas (Children Against Bullets). The campaign portrays children in huge posters in an obituary format announcing their death on the 31st December. These posters were placed in the areas where the children live, creating a commotion among the residents and generating an energy which was expected to discourage people from firing guns into the air.
Samuel González, president of Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico (United Way): “It was a shocking, highly impactful but necessary campaign. We were able to do this thanks to the support of the many parents who allowed the images of their children to be used because they were tired of living in fear that their children could suffer the fate of Karla Michelle last year or Francisco the previous year, who died while they were enjoying the traditional New Year’s Eve celebration. The agency has used fear to create a dramatic, shocking and impactful message. The campaign generated controversy in some segments of our society but this was good because it instigated a frank dialogue about this problem.”
The agency worked in collaboration with social workers to recruit the volunteers. Primera Hora, a large circulation newspaper, kicked off the campaign on 17th December with editorial coverage of the interviews they conducted with the parents and their children. The newspaper published daily, through the 31st December issue, a small lead photo of one of the children on its cover page and a full page enlargement on page 31 asking people to save those children using the slogan Send away the Year, but not the children (Despidamos el año, no a los niños in Spanish).
The photos also appeared in electronic billboards around the island. In addition, an extensive media tour was conducted in TV and radio programs featuring spokespersons from Fondos Unidos (United Way) who talked about the initiative and the problem caused by stray bullets.
Celebrities and local artists adopted this initiative, generating an ample backing to this effort in Twitter using the hashtag #ninoscontrabalas.
The photos were taken by photographer Reinaldo Rodríguez and they could and can be accessed at the ninoscontrabalas.com website.
Some tweets about the campaign:
Badillo Saatchi & Saatchi