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Ad Agency Convinces Guerilla Fighters To Defect

Colombian agency Lowe SSP3 uses strategically placed lighting to literally guide insurgents home this Christmas.

Ryan Gerhardt
Ryan Gerhardt on December 17, 2012.

Last year, Lowe SSP3’s ‘Rivers of Light’ campaign convinced 180 insurgents in Colombia to give up the fight and return home. This year, while the message of demobilization remains the same, the method aims to bring greater light to the effort.

For the ‘Rivers of Light’ campaign, which won a Titanium Lion at Cannes, the agency floated LED-lit balls down known guerilla transport-rivers. The balls contained hopeful messages and small gifts to persuade the fighters to defect and return home. This year’s campaign, dubbed ‘Operation Bethlehem,’ is an attempt to literally light their path out of the jungle.

With Colombian military intelligence showing that guerilla leaders, part of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, were taking fighters deeper into unknown regions to prevent defection, the agency needed a way to show fighters the closest way to a town for surrender. Lowe’s solution was a strategic lighting system.

Starting today, December 17th, 5 strategically placed beacons will light up the sky with high-powered beams to guide guerilla’s escaping from their camps in the night. The campaign also employs the use of lights in the treetops that have been dropped by planes, glow in the dark billboards along the rivers, and glow in the dark stickers on vehicles.

They’ve also created a radio, television and online spot for ‘Operation Bethlehem’ encouraging guerillas to return home to their friends and families this holiday season.

With peace talks currently being held between the Colombian government and opposition forces, the campaign hopes to persuade fighters to demobilize before it’s too late. Check out the spot below, which captures the essence of the ‘Operation Bethlehem’ campaign:

Lowe SSP3

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