Below the Line

War Child USA debuts $249 campaign on Universal Children’s Day to raise awareness about global spending on war

By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

November 20, 2017 | 4 min read

Humanitarian organization War Child USA today (November 20) introduced its first campaign in the United States, designed to raise awareness about global spending on war.

War Child

War Child campaign for Universal Children's Day

The campaign, ‘$249,’ is entitled after the approximate amount the organization stated that each person, per year for every man, woman and child around the world on funding war (a per capita approximation based on reported global defense spending and world population estimates).

The campaign was created to encourage people to offset this spending on war by investing in peace together with War Child USA. It launched with an animated film, narrated by Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin, featuring Radiohead’s hit single ’No Surprises’ from the album ‘OK Computer.’

In the spot, smart animation transforms floating dollar bills into tools of war, including rifles, bullets and then eventually kids playing and learning in classrooms, showing how that $249 can change lives.

“When you fund war, kids pay the price. But War Child turns your dollars into education, opportunity and justice,” said McLaughlin in the voice over.

“I was lucky to have a safe and happy childhood, and I believe that every kid deserves the same,” said McLaughlin in a release. “When I heard about the work that War Child is doing to support kids in war zones, I was happy to lend my voice to their $249 Campaign. Investing in peace makes much more sense to me than investing in war.”

The concept for the $249 campaign came from War Child USA founder, Dr. Samantha Nutt’s TED Talk on the deadly impact of small arms, which has garnered over one million views.

“War is ours as human beings. We buy it, sell it, spread it and wage it. We are therefore not powerless to stop it. On the contrary, we are the only ones who can,” said Nutt.

Celebrities, including Justin Long, Zosia Mamet, Evan Jonigkeit, Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron and Kelly Bensimon also lent their support to the campaign.

The $249 campaign was created in partnership with Publicis New York. Along with the campaign launch, they also developed War Child USA’s new website. The campaign animation was donated by animation studio, The Mill.

Andy Bird, chief creative officer, Publicis New York, stated: "War Child is one of those rare opportunities where we can use powerful creative for both powerful, and meaningful, change. War is ugly. War is violent and raw, and not a place for anyone. Especially not for our children. We hope this body of work will make people look at the real cost of war, in a new and personal way. Let’s start investing in peace."

War Child USA: $249 by Publicis

By War Child USA

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