Swiss S.O.S. campaign wins at 2001 Cannes Awards

MSF's 'S.O.S' ad campaign, developed for the Swiss office of MSF, won the Golden Lion award at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in 2001 in the category of TV commercials. The campaign was created by Advico Young & Rubicam for MSF Switzerland. The campaign is meant to have a strong impact on the viewers. The advertisement shows a human body with scars and surgical stitches demarcating territories showing humanitarian crisis points where MSF has been particualrly active. One image shows a collection of stitches that divides Macedonia from Kosovo. Though some of the images may be disturbing to some, they are a far from the realities of human suffering which MSF volunteers witness on a daily basis in the field. MSF hopes that the commercial will fight apathy and indifference - a situation in which the suffering of millions is perceived as a banal every day event. In the commercial, the stitching of the 'S.O.S.' represents the essential medical aspects of our involvement in the field. "We wanted to communicate the medical action of our field work," explains Bertrand Chamarty, of MSF Switzerland. MSF Switzerland chose a visual language which is very different from what most aid and relief organizations typically use; the stereotypical image of a starving black African child accompanied with a white Western nurse.