A grandmother recalls her life spent protesting in powerful Oxfam ad
The charity’s latest campaign encourages activists to ‘stay in the fight’ for causes that are important to them.
New work for Oxfam by ad agency Don’t Panic tells the story of protester Edith. Surrounded by her grandchildren, she tells stories about her youth spent protesting with her friends, the ‘naughty’ things they’d write on their placards.
As she talks, the ad cuts to what appears to be black-and-white flashbacks of her youth before revealing that while she doesn’t protest any more, she’s still in the fight. The ad then reveals that it isn’t her youth in London that we’ve been seeing flashbacks of, but present day in Nairobi, Kenya, where another young protestor is on a march with friends.
Shot on location in London, UK and Nairobi, Kenya, the campaign is part of a new drive from Oxfam to ask the older generation to ‘Stay in the Fight’ by leaving a legacy in their will to continue supporting causes important to them.
“Authenticity was at the heart of this one. Finding a real protestor and a real protest happening in Kenya brought a lot of production challenges, but it’s also why the film feels so true and real. Joyce, the Kenyan protestor, was amazing to work with. She is passionate about climate change and she brought all of that passion to the film. We had to be nimble in our production process because the protest dates, and even the protest route, kept changing,” explains Rick Dodds, creative partner, Don’t Panic.
“Once we had shot the real protest in Kenya, we then worked backwards to cast our ‘UK grandma’. We needed to find an actor who could captivate our audience and who could realistically be an older Joyce so that the reveal would work. Edith, our UK grandma, also used to go on protests, so this brought some real power and genuine storytelling to the film.”
To mark the campaign launch, Oxfam has also paid tribute to one of the largest public demonstrations in British history by reuniting a group of the protestors from the iconic 1983 march for peace in London’s Hyde Park. Oxfam worked with the original demonstrators to recreate images on the eve of the 40-year anniversary of the march.
“Often legacy campaigns which target an older audience, speak in a certain soft, pared back, almost patronising tone, and paint them as an archetypal ‘old person’. We wanted to break that mould and honour the fighter spirit that is this generation’s hallmark, and celebrate them as the original protest generation,” added Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo, legacy engagement lead at Oxfam.
“The campaign takes Oxfam back to its activist roots, and has paved the way for a tone that plays into this generation’s inherent fighter instinct, with sentiments brought to life by our legacy pledgers and our reunified protesters who still share these values. Working with Don’t Panic, we have been able to create a bold integrated campaign with authenticity at its heart, that feels a long way off from a traditional legacy campaign.”
The campaign airs across Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News and Channel 5 and will also run across out-of-home, press and radio. Media was planned and booked by The Kite Factory Media.