Inspiration from yesteryear

We were sent a link to an interesting Pinterest board set up by Mark Phillips this week – thanks, Al. Mark’s compiled a collection of old charity ads. You can take a look at it here.

It’s well worth doing so – not least because the collection charts the shift in charity creative from the 1960s onwards. When the industry first started out, a large helping of guilt was the order of the day. You have 1975’s “While you’re going to parties, we’re going to funerals” from Save the Children. 1985’s “How can you enjoy Christmas knowing what hers will be like?” from The Children’s Society. And 1990’s “Do you really need £10 more than he does?” from Action Aid. It’s easy to understand how, while charity advertising was in its infancy, undisguised guilt was a sure-fire way to achieve cut through.

Looking at the Oxfam ads featured too, it’s clear to see that we’ve come a long way from the desperate images of starving people we started out with. The public perception of charity has become more sophisticated, and charity advertising has necessarily – and sometimes controversially – followed suit (see the recent Food for All debate).

That said, as much as this collection highlights change, it’s also a useful source of inspiration. It’s valuable to see what’s led us to this point. And it’s worth noting the continuity too – The Salvation Army’s “Without you, Christmas day would be just another Friday” from 1970 is not a world away from the (albeit updated) “Christmas doesn’t always happen where you expect it” message behind Shelter’s 2012 ‘desperate santa’ video.

We’ve included a few of the old Oxfam ads below but take a look at Mark’s Pinterest board for lots more archive examples. His Queerideas fundraising blog is a good read, too.

1971

1971

1978

1978

1980

1980

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