Strategy Verdict - New Oxfam campaign

The charitable sector is a crowded place to be. Spurred on by the nation's increased resilience to constant ad bombardment, recent charity ads have injected a new global perspective on the charity message being communicated.

The new Oxfam campaign
The new Oxfam campaign

Agency RKCR/Y&R
(Four stars out of five)

No longer is the top-down, celebrity voice TV ad backed up by a mass door drop the way to proceed. Charities have had to box a lot cleverer.

Cue Oxfam's latest move, a beautifully crafted Tim Burton-esque animation backed by the kind of emotive music usually found on a financial services ad. The campaign, created by RKCR/Y&R, includes a 40-second TV spot and a provocative poster campaign.

While some will be left quizzical as to the purpose, the TV ad provides a "Be Humankind" umbrella under which the rest of the integrated campaign can shelter.

The core of the message is found on the outdoor media being utilised: tube-car panels and outdoor 16 sheets - both strong choices offering high dwell times and a captive audience.

My worry here is purely a physical one; is this impulsive moment (that the ad campaign works so hard to achieve) lost if the user has to wait until they're in an area of mobile phone reception before sending the text that the ad requests?

Surely, every time the potential donor does wait those extra few minutes before texting, their enthusiasm will wane. The difference in tone between the ambient and TV creative is a marked one and something that could leave passers-by unsure as to whether Oxfam is employing a carrot, a stick or both.

All in all, "Be Humankind" is a very strong campaign that reminds us of the temporary nature of our altruism and the power of the individual. Where Oxfam leads others follow, and in this increasingly competitive sector this mantra remains in place.

Review by Hugh de Winton, communications planning, AdConnection

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