Our new campaign just landed

Get your things. You’ve got two minutes to leave. Stop crying. There’s nothing you can do. Tell your kids to stop screaming. Say goodbye to your home. It’s gone.

It’s not the kind of sentiment most people expect from Oxfam. But then, land is not the kind of subject that gets the majority of people fired up. And that means some investors are getting away with land grabs, leaving people around the world hungry and homeless.

We were briefed to come up with a campaign that would not just get people fired up about land grabs, but would get them to act and tell the World Bank to put its investments in big land deals on hold. So instead of leading on land, we decided to lead on people by turning the tables on our audience.

In the end, the spark of inspiration came from a rough and ready documentary, not in the public domain at that point. It included fairly shocking footage of land grabs in progress. While the nuts and bolts of the issue were intellectually interesting, what actually hit home was footage of people who had just been turfed off their land. As they walked along the roadside with their families and all the belongings they could carry in tow, it was clear that these small-scale farmers had literally lost everything in an instant. The testimonies of people affected were extremely raw. Some spoke of losing their land as being like losing a child. They were grieving, angry, inconsolable – exactly like we would be if someone came and took our home away. You can now watch an edited and abridged version of the documentary on YouTube. 

After watching the documentary, the approach for our campaign was immediately obvious. The result, the Get Out campaign, challenged the blind eye by telling people “If it happened to your family, it would be called an injustice.” It included ads in most major national newspapers, as pictured here. It also featured stunts involving bulldozers and land girls in London, along with emails, action cards and social media activities.

It’s early days but Get Out looks like it’s working. And more importantly, some people also told us the different approach we chose to take made them think a bit differently too. Which was nice.