Colombian Govt’s World Cup Ads Ask Rebels To Disarm

Colombia’s Government is using Brazil 2014 to try and persuade FARC and ELN guerrillas to swap bullets for balls by rolling out a World Cup themed campaign inviting rebels to lay down their arms.


As World Cup fever built across the country throughout June, the Colombian Ministry Of Defence leveraged the football-led surge in national pride and country unity to send out a message to FARC fighters asking them to demobilise.


Using the hashtag ‪#‎yoleguardoelpuesto, the ministry’s campaign aims to encourage guerrillas to lay down their arms and return to their previous lives – asking ‘Are you going to miss the best show in the world? I’ve saved you a seat here’.


The creative, led by a nationwide TV spot, sees a wide cross-section of Colombians of various ages and ethnicities and political views invite guerrillas to demobilise during the World Cup.


The work, by agency Lowe SSP3, features relatives of guerrillas, football players and Colombian media personalities sending their own messages.


The ad says ‘Guerilla fighter, Colombia is saving a seat for you to enjoy football’s greatest feast in freedom – demobilise yourself’, whilst touching vacant chairs and stools next to them in a gesture of friendship.



As well as TV ads (plus web and social media sites), the ad campaign is also being broadcast across national radio during World Cup matches as it aims to encourage guerrillas from both the two major left wing rebel groups – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) – to demobilise.


‘For the guerrillas, football is central,’ says a ministry spokesperson Iveth Cármen. ‘So what better opportunity to hand in their weapons and enter the civilian life than a World Cup in which Colombia is performing so well?’




Who says sport and politics don’t mix?


The campaign could be boosted by the success of Colombia’s team.


The squad has made it to the quarter finals of the World Cup and has sparked an outbreak of so called ‘yellow fever’ (the team play in yellow) across the nation as sup[port for the side explodes.


Some hope that the re-election of President Juan Manuel Santos will bring the prospect of an end to five decades of left-wing guerrilla and drug-fuelled conflict in Colombia.


This World Cup campaign follows the ministry’s emotionally powerful ‘You Are My Son’ initiative which aired at the end of last year and featured mothers’ urging their guerrilla sons to come home for Christmas.



This campaign as also developed by Lowe SSP3 and for the past three years the agency has worked with the government on campaigns encouraging demobilisation.


This has seen the agency launch a wide range of tactics and activity – from decorating huge Christmas trees in the jungle and floating LED-lit plastic balls filled with hopeful messages and small gifts down rivers the insurgents use to get around, plus using beacons to light up the dark night sky to provide guiding lights for escaping rebels.


The ‘Mother’s Voice’ initiative told real-life stories of 30 or so mums who children joined FARC – which a poster execution of each parent and a family photo of the rebel as a child alongside copy reading ‘Before you were a guerrilla, you were my son. This Christmas, we’re waiting for you at home. Demobilize.’




Colombia Ministry Of Defence World Cup TV Spot YouTube



Colombia Ministry Of Defence Facebook



Colombia Ministry Of Defence Website



Lowe & Partners YouTube




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