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Mr T plays on flying phobia for Orbis charity advertising

LONDON - Mr T is to play up his image as the flying-phobic 'A-Team' character BA Baracus in a new advertising campaign for the blindness charity Orbis.

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The actor was persuaded to become part of the campaign by online creative agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine, which is creating the campaign for Orbis.

The hook is Orbis' Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 that has been converted into a fully-functioning eye hospital and classroom.

Mr T played BA Baracus in the hit 1980s television series 'The A-Team', where he was famous for his outrageous taste in gold jewellery, his Mohican hairstyle and his point-blank refusal to get on an airplane.

The advertising plays on his famous catchphrase, and in one ad he says: "I pity the fool who refuses to help blind people see again. I ain't getting on no plane, but I will donate some cash to the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital."

Sam Ball, creative partner at Lean Mean Fighting Machine, said: "We wanted to use Mr T and his famous persona BA Baracas as a spokesman for Orbis by playing off his legendary aversion to flying. Cult figures don't get much bigger than BA Baracus and the fact he hates flying gave us just the right twist to promote the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital."

The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the charity, which helps prevent avoidable blindness in developing countries, among 20- to 45-year-olds in the UK and Ireland. The ads will run over Christmas on sites including Friends Reunited, the Guardian, MSN and NME.

Mr T said: "Orbis is doing a fine job in saving sight and preventing blindness in the world's poorest countries. I'm happy to be helping them raise money for the Flying Eye Hospital and have enjoyed working with Lean Mean Fighting Machine."

The ads can be watched online at the Lean Mean Fighting Machine website.

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