An outdoor and social media campaign for War Child Holland reminds me of the popular ‘80s song “99 Red Balloons,” where objects that often elicit happy memories -- balloons -- embody a darker meaning.
The one-hit wonder was an upbeat, catchy tune with lyrics that spoke of nuclear war between East and West Germany, sparked by 99 balloons innocently released into the sky by two kids.
Fast-forward to 2012, when War Child Holland and Dutch radio station Radio 538 teamed up to create a life-sized Sherman Panzer tank from 7,000 balloons.
The tank was placed in the city square of Den Bosch in the Netherlands, with a request that passersby send out the following tweet: “Get the war out of children #Warchild.” The goal was to get 3,500 messages sent. Once that number was reached, the balloons would be released into the air, morphing from tank to balloons.
War Child helps children living in war-torn areas rebuild their lives through various creative programs.
Within hours, the message had been sent more than 3,500 times, releasing the balloons skyward.
Balloon Tank was created by Happiness Brussels and German artist Hans Hemmert.