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Author: Aleena Gardezi

Publicis New York & DOTW’s ‘Not Like Us’ Addresses Stereotypes for Syrian Refugees

Posted January 25, 2017

Publicis New York is helping Doctors of the World (DOTW), the international human-rights organization that provides long-term medical assistance to refugees in Europe and the Middle East through their new video ‘Not Like Us’.

The video, which appears on DOTW’s Facebook page and YouTube channel documents the frontlines of DOTW at the Syrian border near Aleppo. It focuses on defying the stereotypes associated with the refugees to show how much like us they are.

The video shows a look at DOTW clinics and hospitals, and the plight of the Syrian refugees. In mid-December, Publicis accompanied a team of filmmakers to the war zone to film the crisis.

Andy Bird, CCO, Publicis New York, “While traveling with the Doctors of the World team to the Syrian border our creatives unveiled a dangerous contagion: indifference. Indifference can be as poisonous and invasive as any plague. We immediately knew we needed to spark awareness. This film is the result, and a sensitive, thoughtful, creative articulation of a serious issue. We hope people will pay attention.”

DIVERGE spoke to Creative Director, Einav Jacubovich to find out more. 

Where did the idea for this campaign come from?

As the Syrian crisis kept worsening, so was people’s perception of the Syrian refugees. Not only were people indifferent to help, they were attacking the refugees and seeing them as a threat. We wanted to change the perception. So we decided to get the true story from the most reliable source, the refugees themselves.

Why is it significant?

It’s significant because the Syrian refugees are human beings, just like us. We cannot continue to ignore genocide and human suffering, especially in a time like today, with the harsh truth looking us right in the face, thanks to social media. They are being massacred by the day. They need our help. Their future depends on us.

Who is the team behind this campaign?

Credit list below. Publicis New York has been working with Doctors of the World for over two years, producing awareness campaigns to help their humanitarian efforts.

Why is it important to raise awareness on this issue

It’s essential we raise awareness on this issue, because if we do not, we will potentially allow an entire population to continue to be brutally killed. We have a responsibility towards each other as human beings.What do you hope to get from this campaign?

The goal of our campaign is to raise awareness and donations towards the cause. Doctors of the World is on the ground in Turkey and Syria — as well as locations all around the world — aiding the Syrian refugees. They need money to continue providing medical support to numerous hospital, clinics, refugee camps and IDP camps around the world.

What kind of feedback have you received?

We’re grateful for all the positive feedback we’ve been receiving. Most comments echo how critical it is to stand up to the misconceptions about the refugees and also to remind people that indifference is a disease.

Why is it important to show how much like us the refugees are?

It was important to us to show that the refugees really are just like us, as it’s one of the biggest misconceptions around the world. People have accused the Syrian refugees of being uneducated, and using their crisis as an excuse to come into our countries. Worse, they have been accused of being terrorists, radicals and rapists. These vile misperceptions need to end. The Syrian refugees are human beings just like us. They once had lives and routines, just like ours. They are educated, skilled, kind and in need of our help. While at the Turkey/Syria border, we met numerous doctors, psychologists and nurses working with Doctors of the World. They were all, also, Syrian refugees themselves. Kind people, bringing their professions from home to aid their own.

 How can others help?

People can help by spreading the message, and donating to the cause. Doctors of the World is in dire need of help.

Additional thoughts?

We visited a hospital in Reyhanli, Turkey, about 60 miles from Aleppo, with very badly injured patients (many who had been bombed by the Syrian regime and the Russians) and one surgeon running to aid as many as he could. We visited a clinic in Istanbul with hundreds of Syrian refugees waiting for aid, and only five doctors. The Istanbul clinic will be closing this month due to lack of funding. The aid need is large, and it’s very real.


Chief Creative Officer, Publicis NY: Andy Bird

Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Worldwide North America: Andrew Bruce

Chief Executive Officer, Publicis NY: Carla Serrano

EVP, Executive Creative Director Publicis NY: Joe Johnson

EVP, Chief Production Officer Publicis NY: Lisa Bifulco

VP, Creative Director Publicis NY: Jeremy Filgate

VP, Creative Director Publicis NY: Einav Jacubovich

VP, Creative Director Publicis NY: Josh Horn

Senior Copywriter Publicis NY: Patrick Merritt

Account Executive Publicis NY: Michael Emer

Filmmaker/ Director: Cano Rojas

Producer Prodigious: Lisa Sadek

Editor Prodigious: Jason Schneider

Senior Producer, Publicis NY: Hadleigh Arnst

Integrated Producer, Jason Bailey

SVP, Strategy Director Publicis NY: Erica Herman

Strategist, Publicis NY: Beth Beckman

Search Analyst, Publicis NY: Evan Finkelstein