Save the Children has created a powerful sequel to its award-winning 2014 PSA, Most Shocking Second a Day, continuing the story of a London child, Lily, whose happy life is transformed when war breaks out.
The follow-up to the original ad, which has been viewed more than 50 milion times on YouTube and won a Gold Cyber Lion at Cannes in 2014, was once again created by Don't Panic London. It picks up where the first ad left off and stars the same actresses playing Lily and her mother.
As with the first film, the story opens and closes on Lily's birthday, each time under very different circumstances. This time, the storyline is even more hard-hitting as Lily and her brother Alfie are forced to become refugees. In a chilling recreation of the real-life journeys of Syrian children, Lily is separated from her mother and forced to cross the sea on a packed and dangerous raft.
The film is seriously harrowing, and gets the charity's message forcibly across: children are making horrific journeys like this every day.
Jess Crombie, deputy director of creative at Save the Children, told Creativity: "We decided to do a sequel because the situation in the last two years has changed. With the first ad, we wanted to make people realize that the people in Syria in this civil war were just like them. Now, people are fleeing Syria and we have worst refugee crisis since World War Two, with half of the refugees children, and the crisis is on our doortsep. We knew people really cared about the first film, so following it up was a good way to get them engaged."
Richard Beer, creative director at Don't Panic, added that the second ad was much more complex to set up than the first. "In the previous film, Lily was living a normal life, but at the start of the second ad, her family has been displaced and is in a camp. We had to show this, and show her adapting to a new normal, as well as becoming a teenager, before it's all blown apart again."
Ms. Crombie said she and Mr. Beer had discussed whether the ad was "too bleak" but had decided to show it because "every single thing that happensto Lily in the film has happened to real children." The team worked closely with the children playing Lily and her brother Alfie, and their families, to make sure they were comfortable with what they were acting out. They even took "Lily" to meet a real life Syrian family who had resettled in the U.K.
The ad, which was directed by Tom Green at Stink, is launching in 12 countries including in the U.S. and Australia, and Save the Children is targeting viewers who would have watched the first ad. It also re-released the first ad a few weeks ago, and garnered several thousand new views.