Focus: Campaign of the week - Amnesty lets rip with spoof advert

Anita Pati, anita.pati@haynet.com

Clive and Sue are on the sofa when Clive pulls out his weapon. "Let me show you this in its full splendour," says Clive of the AK47 assault rifle in his hands. The scene, from Amnesty's new campaign Teleshop, is a spoof of a television shopping channel on which the prissy presenters move effortlessly from hawking ice-cream makers to killer ammunition.

The presenters say they have 10,000 weapons in secret locations outside the UK to sell today - the phone lines are open and they accept hard cash, dollars through offshore accounts and even diamonds. They chat about child soldiers in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo while gasping at the weapons' attributes.

Amnesty hopes the advert will drum up support for a global petition for an international arms trade treaty to be presented at a UN conference in June. The silent message at the end of the film, in which three captions appear, says the arms trade is out of control. It calls on people to sign up to the Million Faces Petition by texting the word ARMS, followed by their name, to 84118. The advert will run on 300 cinema screens in 50 Vue cinemas nationwide over an eight-week period, with Pearl & Dean donating the media space.

The campaign also includes a fictitious glossy mail-order small arms catalogue to be distributed in cinema foyers, and a roadshow tour of shopping centres where fake salespeople will 'demonstrate' the ease with which the machine guns work.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: "Some people might find our Teleshop advert disturbing. But what's truly shocking is that one person dies every minute from armed violence and the scandalous lack of controls to stop weapons getting into the wrong hands. In some countries, people tell us guns are as easy to come by as packs of cigarettes."

The advert culminates in a final scene in which a young boy, Sam, demonstrates the rifle. He peppers the studio with a thunderous hail of bullets. "Wow, that is seriously impressive," say the presenters. "Head, lungs, heart obliterated - fantastic."

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