Ads We Love: Burns and Smiles Makes a Burn Victim’s Most Defining Trait His Ugly Sweater


According to stats, every year France as a country sees about 400,000 new burn victims. The stats say that out of these 400,000 new burn victims are 10,000 victims whose cases are considered medically severe. These 10,000 people after they are healed have to go into the world to deal with uncomfortable stares and preconceived notions. The stares and reactions the face make acclimating to both their new situation and environment significantly harder. Well, Burns and Smiles want to shine a light to this by creating some awareness. Burns and Smiles want to help reduce the likelihood of isolation and prejudice for the victims.Ads We Love: Burns and Smiles Makes a Burn Victim’s Most Defining Trait His Ugly Sweater

To do this the organization partnered with creative agency TWBA\Paris to create a special campaign. Instead of just raising awareness on what burn victims face on a daily basis. They chose to use a different approach and chose to showcase how burn victims should be treated. Burns and Smiles created this campaign to encourage others to view burn victims as they would anyone else: people worthy of respect, dignity, and friendship.

About the Campaign

The Burns and Smiles campaign follows Matheo, a teenage boy like any other. He lives a regular life, we see him go to school, play sports and have a high school sweetheart. Matheo is like any other teenage boy, he even makes what some would consider questionable fashion choices.  The spot is set to Paul Simon’s classic “The Only Living Boy in New York.  There’s nothing especially remarkable about the ad or the boy’s life and that’s the point of the ad.

What the ad is trying to portray is that beyond Matheo’s scars he is just a regular kid who goes to school and is trying to enjoy his life with his friends, girlfriend and most importantly his ugly sweater. They want people to know that all burn victims should get to live lives as blissfully mundane.

About Burns and Smiles

Burns and Smiles mission is to help victims resocialize as part of their healing. It was founded by Laurent Gauden, who was the victim of an accident at age four and suffered from severe burns himself. The organization provides support and resources that help victims ease back into everyday life and help remove a stigma that does nothing more than prevent thousands of people from living their best lives.


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