ThinkOTB Agency

Creative Christmas: Charity Advertising

December 6, 2012

At this time of year, companies look for new ways to promote their products in a festive way in order to sell more goods. It’s also a time when charities create hard hitting campaigns which tug on people’s heartstrings, encouraging them to donate money to people not as fortunate as them. Get ready to see a lot of charity advertising.


Over the years, Greenpeace have created many campaigns which bring the reality of the season home for some. In one of their previous campaigns, a melted snowman was shown in a snow globe, highlighting the destructive effects of global warming. This year, Greenpeace have chosen to target the Waitrose Christmas campaign.

Waitrose created a campaign showing famous chefs demonstrating how to use their ‘giving to communities’ system. However, Waitrose have also been planning to open new stores in Shell garages. Greenpeace have created a voice over parody of the ad, to highlight Shell’s impact on the Arctic. Is this the right way to go about creating campaigns? It has definitely got people’s attention. It seems social media plays a huge role in marketing these days, and #DumpShell has certainly caused a stir.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s 2006 campaign focused on an aspect of the winter season that most will turn a blind eye to – the homeless in the cold, and the hungry. The bleak imagery displays the reality of life for those less fortunate than us, reminding us that Christmas isn’t happy for everyone. The campaign’s strapline, ‘We see what most don’t’, works well alongside the imagery of transparent, ghostlike homeless people lying on benches, and sitting on steps in the cold etc.


In 2004, Childhope Asia Philippines created a campaign showing how many children will be spending this Christmas on the streets. They used photography of bin bags to look like presents, creating bows out of chalk, and a fireplace with stockings out of chalk on a stone wall, with burnt wood underneath representing the fire. Any parent will find this hard to see, as they would want and expect their own children to have a happy and peaceful christmas. The concept of the ad is powerful because it contradicts the joyful, idealistic nature of typical Christmas ads.

Amnesty International

We also stumbled across a visually clever image by Amnesty International. The strapline reads, ‘Christmas time is coming’, and shows a prisoner’s countdown engravings on a prison wall. The scratch marks resemble Christmas trees, a sad version of on our own advent countdowns. Another ad variation, named ‘Christmas of conscience’, shows the feet of a prisoner by another wall marking: a Christmas tree complete with gifts. Things that we come to expect at Christmastime, are totally out of reach for others – an important message at this time of year.

Charity advertising

We at Think OTB have admittedly found today’s blog a little hard going in comparison to the rest of this weeks ‘Creative Christmas’ theme, but can conclusively say that the harder hitting the campaign, the more likely people are to donate to charity at Christmastime. The strongest adverts are perhaps the ones that tug the hardest on our heartstrings. So will any of these adverts encourage you to donate money this Christmas? Is the hard hitting angle that charities choose to take successful at catching your attention?

Check back here for tomorrow’s blog, which will be the final in this weeks’ ‘Creative Christmas’ series!


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