TIME Advertising

Charity’s Freezing Child Ad Is Profoundly Touching

A Norwegian charity has taken an unusual approach to raising funds to help children in Syria. The organization, SOS Children’s Villages, says that it set up a hidden camera near a bus stop in Oslo, Norway and planted a child actor there. The boy isn’t wearing enough clothing to cope with the harsh winter and begins shivering furiously. Many strangers offer the boy their scarves, gloves and jackets. One man even strips down to a T-shirt so the boy can be warm. The video is a testament to the kindness strangers can show one another. Only three of the 25 people who encountered the boy at the bus stop didn’t offer assistance, according to Adweek. The charity asks the viewer to show the same level of compassion by sending money to aid Syrian children.

The commercial is the latest in a string of candid-camera style ads that have grown popular online. Unlike most ‘prankvertisements’ though, the Norwegian spot stands out for focusing on people’s kindness rather than their ability to be scared easily. All of these types of ads resonate because they create a more personal connection with the viewer than a typical, glossy television commercial. “We like to see each other’s lives and foibles and accidents,” Edward Boches, a professor of advertising at Boston University, told TIME earlier this week. “It sort of feels more real world and something that might…approximate in a way our own lives and our own experiences.”

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