The French charity the Mimi Foundation told 20 cancer patients they would give them makeovers. All that was required of them was to keep their eyes closed to make the reveal more exciting. The patients expected that when they opened their eyes, they would look beautiful — but they got something else completely.
The first 1:30 of this video may seem straight out of a clichéd charitable makeover video. Then it takes quite the unexpected turn:
Leo Burnett France collaborated with the French non-profit the Mimi Foundation on the project. They were inspired by a patient's statement that before cancer, she used to be much more carefree.
The idea was that the 20 participants' discovery of how silly they looked "allowed them to forget their disease, if only for a second," according to the campaign's press release.
The makeovers took place in Brussels in June, and the participants reunited last month for the launch party of a book collecting photographer Vincent Dixon's images of surprise and delight.
"Within a second, smiling faces were seen all over the room. At that very moment, cancer did not exist for the family members either."
You can order the book and learn more about the campaign, launched today, at the "If Only for a Second" website.
Here are a few pages from the book, courtesy of the Mimi Foundation: