Cannes Lions

Through the eyes of a refugee



5 Shortlisted
Case Film
Case Film
Supporting Content






If empathy is the capacity to place oneself in another's position, we needed our audience to really experience what it’s like to flee under such inhumane conditions.

How could we make people see through the eyes of a refugee? Make them experience what a refugee experienced?

And so our idea was born; to open people’s eyes, we must look through the eyes of refugees. That’s how came up with the idea to bring people under hypnosis, and have them experience what a refugee went through.

*Psychological research shows that people tend to feel more empathy and compassion for single victims than groups of victims.


After a long process of researching the validity and proof of hypnosis in general, we screened a list of hypnotherapists for their credibility and authority. After this process, we contacted well-known and credited hypnosis expert Jos Claus to be the person conducting the hypnosis on our subjects.

Mr. Claus then brought the subjects in a hypnosis state. In hypnosis, humans are focused inward and unaware of their surroundings. Their enhanced capacity for response to suggestion makes them believe they are actually experiencing what is being said to them. With care, he then led them through the story of Marwa.

We want to emphasize that the people used in the experiment are not actors. They’ve been screened and briefed on the process beforehand, but in no way, have they been influenced how to act or feel. Moreover, candidates received intensive after-care after the experience.


A local campaign, with global impact. Resulting in an organic reach of 21 million people… in the first 5 days! (Dutch adult population 12 million).

We achieved an amazing Engagement Rate of 9.7%, while the non-profit benchmark is merely 0.17%. Almost 60 times more!

Only 12% of this Engagement Rate came from likes, 26% from shares and an incredible 62% from comments (average 4%).

The video was more to people than just a distracted ‘like’. People took the message to heart and shared their video on their personal Facebook walls. We received more than TWICE as many shares than likes: quite unique in social media.

The comments showed an overwhelming emotional sentiment. Many commented that their eyes had in fact been opened. Perhaps most humbling and gratifying were the comments from refugees from all corners of the world, expressing their thanks. Reminding us that refugees are nowhere without our understanding.

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