A controversial Swedish UNICEF commercial has caused a stir with its callous Santa Claus declaring he doesn’t give gifts to poor countries.
In the 45-second television advertisement which aired in Sweden, a Santa Claus with an American accent is seen going through a box of packaged gifts which turn out to be a UNICEF gift package. The box contains needles, medications, a vaccine bottle, and other health care needs. Santa then begins a diatribe explaining why the items aren’t sufficient Christmas gifts adding, “I don’t do poor countries.”
The commercial ends with the message "We go where Santa doesn't- Buy your Christmas gifts at unicef.se."
Christopher Tidey, a communication specialist for UNICEF Switzerland, told The Christian Post that the ad made by the organization’s international committee was designed to encourage “giving symbolic gifts instead of material gifts.”
Tidey explained that UNICEF allows those interested to purchase a gift package supplying vaccines, medications, and birth registrations for children in poverty-stricken countries who otherwise would have no access to them. The lack of birth registrations or certificates restricts children around the world from receiving what little government aid they could receive.
Right wing news site TheBlaze.com, commented that the advertisement had the vibe of “Occupy Wall Street propaganda,” and posed the question, “Could the United Nations Children’s Fund be the latest participant in the War on Christmas?”
In response to the accusation, Tidey tells The Christian Post, “UNICEF is a neutral organization. Our only partiality is to children. We regret if anyone was offended or misinterpreted the ad.”
Tidey said that the ads are regularly put up during the Christmas season and this particular one “intended to use humor, not to offend in any way, shape, or form.” He added that it is too early to tell if the ads will increase holiday donations.
The Stockholm-based firm Forsman & Bodenfors produced the advertisement.
To watch the controversial ad featuring the Scrooge-like Santa, see below: