This story was on ’60 Minutes’ last night, and it’s timely because the president of Colombia was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Christmas (and the love of sport and mothers) sure are a powerful motivating factor.
Advertising to sell peace, not products – When a Colombian ad executive launched a campaign to end his country’s 52-year war, he found that soccer, Christmas, and humanity were key
In December 2010, they launched “Operation Christmas” which they filmed for commercials that played on local TV. At great risk, Black Hawk helicopters carried two of Sokoloff’s colleagues — led by Colombian Special Forces — into rebel territory. They found nine, 75-foot trees near guerilla strongholds and decorated them with Christmas lights. Each tree was rigged with a motion detector that lit up the tree and a banner when the guerillas walked by at night. It read: “If Christmas can come to the jungle, you can come home. Demobilize. At Christmas, everything is possible.”
Jose Miguel Sokoloff: What we did was try to make coming back home for Christmas an important thing. And we knew that if we put up these Christmas trees with that sign up there, we would touch the hearts of the guerrillas, ‘cause my heart was touched. And they went and they did it.
Lara Logan: And it worked?
Jose Miguel Sokoloff: And it worked incredibly well.