In 1998, Community Aid Abroad had not long before rebranded as Oxfam Australia. While Oxfam is an international charity with wide brand recognition in the UK and Europe, this was not the case in Australia – it was virtually unknown. Community Aid Abroad was the better known brand.
Oxfam started as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief in England in 1942. Community Aid Abroad began in Melbourne’s suburbs in 1953 as a church group called Food for Peace Campaign, founded by Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker. The group sent weekly donations to a small health project in India, and eventually, Food for Peace Campaign groups were established throughout Victoria.
The organisation wanted to reposition itself as Oxfam Australia staying connected with current supporters – who supported its history of strong community engagement, advocacy work and secular status – and attract new supporters who also cared about the global impact of the Oxfam network.
I was Oxfam Australia’s Direct Marketing Manager and responsible for our fundraising appeals along with my team. I had worked on the rebranding of the organisation with the leadership team. At the end of each calendar year most charities have a fundraising campaign, usually associated with Christmas. I wanted to create a secular campaign that tied into the values and beliefs of the organisations as well as our supporters. The Peace Appeal emerged as a great way to promote the brand and its values and attract donations over the festive season using secular messaging.
I really wanted to leverage the striking brand identify of Oxfam (staff lovingly referred to the logo as ‘Kenny’ from Southpark who was everywhere at the time) with its reversed out logo on a green background. The ‘Peace Appeal’ spoke to our secular advocacy approach and linked well with the festive season. It was a gentle yet powerful message during challenging times.
In order to support the regular direct marketing campaign, I wanted to make a splash in the city of Melbourne and after months of effort tracked down the bureaucrat who leased out the flags and banners around the city. We finally got them to agree to let us put up the flags from around October to January. Our Oxfam shop in the CBd had newly branded paper shopping bags with the big Oxfam logo pride of place.
This campaign helped reinforce the new brand identity and created awareness during a busy season when it is traditionally hard to cut through. The integration with direct mail to request donations meant that we had a strong end of year campaign that raised funds and reinforced our values and our new branding.