The first television advertisement on conflict diamonds appeared recently on television in the Washington, D.C., market, and organizers hint that it will soon be shown in other areas.
The ad appeared on the season finale of The West Wing and featured the voice of the show’s star, Martin Sheen.
“Buy a diamond and you may be supporting terrorism in other countries,” says Sheen, in a voiceover accompanied by pictures of children with amputated limbs. “In parts of Africa, rebels control diamond mines, terrorize children and adults, maiming them for life. They kidnap and they kill. This is Martin Sheen. The Clean Diamonds Act can stop the killing by blocking sales of these ‘conflict diamonds’ and profits these terrorists use to wage war. Ask your member of the Congress to support HR 918 and stop the killing.”
The Clean Diamonds Act is sponsored by Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio). Sheen’s publicist told JCK that the actor has worked with Hall before. The publicist also confirmed that Sheen will “lend his voice” to other conflict diamond awareness efforts. He is scheduled to speak on the issue this summer at the National Press Club.
“Sheen is one of the celebrities we have,” says Rory Anderson, governmental relations manager of World Vision, the Christian humanitarian group that produced the ad. “I won’t say more, as I’ve got to keep at least one ace up my sleeve.”
Elaine Bole, media relations manager for World Vision, said the response to the ad has been “very positive,” leading to articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. She said the group plans to air the ad in other markets.
The ad is a signal that the NGOs plan to jump-start their consumer campaign on conflict diamonds, which has been largely quiet since Valentine’s Day. Industry officials fear the campaign will hurt demand for diamonds.
The ad can be viewed on the Internet at www.wvision.org/glint.ram (this requires a Real Media player.)