[By Léa Salameh]

In this day and age, people are increasingly exposed to graphic violence, images of war, bombing videos, and more.

Researchers have found that exposure to constant explicit violence “can cause a process of…desensitization — a sort of numbing process in which individuals become habituated to what they see.”

While the above statement is sadly true, victims of war across the globe are still very much in need of help.

Fortunately, there is still good in this world.

The Norwegian Red Cross teamed up with Ikea on a brilliant PR campaign to increase awareness of the Syrian refugees’ struggles and to raise money for the cause. Why just feel bad when you can actually help?

What makes this campaign so unique and powerful is its execution. This is not just a two-minute video aired on TV or a 30-second “cry for help” ad that most people will forget about the next day.

Instead, a replica of a humble Syrian home was built in an Ikea store to highlight the awful conditions that Syrian families live in. Right in the middle of all the well-designed sections, there was something that did not seem familiar to Western society.

Within the model home, Ikea’s price tags were used to tell Rana’s story. Rana is a mother of four who lives in Damascus in a house exactly like the one showcased in the store. To her and her family, this is a reality.

Instead of passively shoving images and information into audiences’ heads, the Norwegian Red Cross with the help of Ikea decided to create a space where shoppers can directly witness the horrific conditions. The firsthand experience is much more poignant than seeing it on TV.

The campaign has been a big success, and has reportedly attracted 40,000 customers and raised 22 million euros.

Creative campaigns like this one can never go unnoticed. Kudos to the Red Cross and Ikea for tapping into people’s emotions on a whole new level.

(Photo by Clara T via Flickr)