TikTok star and Australia for UNHCR launch World Refugee Day campaign via BMF

Australia for UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) has partnered with Nathan Evans, a TikTok star known for his original sea shanty music, to launch ‘The Reluctant Shanty’ today, for World Refugee Day, telling the story of the reluctant sailor, refugee survivors.

The campaign was created in partnership with creative agency BMF Australia and production company FINCH with the aim of honouring the courage and resilience of refugees in Australia and across the world.


The Reluctant Shanty song was created and inspired by interviews with five refugees, with the film featuring three Australian refugees, each singing several lines in the eerie A capella rendition of the song set in the harrowing conditions faced by refugees during their journeys seeking asylum by sea, in order to escape conflict, persecution and violence.

The Reluctant Shanty was launched by TikTok star Nathan Evans for World Refugee Day, in partnership with Australia for UNHCR and BMF.


The campaign launches today across TikTok, PR and Instagram, leveraging the sea shanty phenomenon to raise awareness of refugees and funds for the UNHCR, through Australia for UNHCR.

Doug Hamilton, creative director at BMF said: “Sea shanties are a 400-year-old genre of music developed by sailors to tell stories of adventure at sea. But today, not all sailors want to go to sea. The Reluctant Shanty is the first shanty based on the experiences of refugees, who’ve embarked on dangerous journeys by sea, in search of safety and survived to tell their story.”

The campaign seeks to raise awareness and funds for the UN Refugee Agency

Kyra Bartley, director at FINCH added: “”The most important part of this project for me was making sure that the humanity of our three heroes shone through. The elevated visual approach gave us the symbolism and cinematic scope we needed, whilst still maintaining a raw intimacy that cuts right through to your heart.”

@nathanevanss UNHCR x Nathan Evans – Reluctant Shanty. Come back tomorrow to hear the rest! #unhcr #TheReluctantShanty #ReluctantShanty #nathanevanss ♬ The Reluctant Shanty – Mandela, Rita, and Heifa


Creative Agency: BMF
Chief Creative Officer: Alex Derwin
Creative Director: Douglas Hamilton
Art Director: Jack Robertson
Copywriter: Robert Boddington
Head of Art & Design: Lincoln Grice
Designer: Alex Kidd & Yoon Park
Chief Strategy Officer: Christina Aventi
Chief Executive Officer: Stephen McArdle
Account Director: Rebekah O’Grady
Head of TV: Jenny Lee-Archer
Agency Producer: Jessica Vella

Production Company: FINCH
Director: Kyra Bartley
Managing Director: Corey Esse
Executive Producer: Loren Bradley
Producer: Nick Simkins & Bryce Lintern

Post Production: Atticus
Editor: Delaney Murphy
Post Producer: Kani Saib
Sound Production: Rumble
Lyricist: Robert Boddington
DOP: James Brown
Photographer: David Collins
Integrated Producer: Simone Plaza
Digital Producer: Samuel Elliott
Web Development Partner: 2DM
Creative Services Director: Clare Yardley

Client: Australia for UNHCR


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