History of Oxfam adverts

This month saw Oxfam celebrating its 75th birthday.

Given this landmark in the history of one of our greatest charities – and one with a proud heritage of doing great comms – it would be worth looking back at its advertising through the years.

Most of the ones I’ve found are from the ’60s and ’70s; I’m not sure if this is because Oxfam only really started advertising then, or if these just happen to be the ones I’ve come across.

As with my post on the history of cancer charity advertising, I think looking at the past is as much about learning from it as it is about celebrating it. While the styles and the range of media may have changed, the fundamentals of how to engage people in a cause haven’t.

For me, the Glenda Jackson advert stands out as a good way of linking shops to the cause at the same time as lending them a bit of celebrity stardust , while the “I am Oxfam” advert very effectively gets across the sense of Oxfam being a social movement that brings together both donors and those who are carrying out the work.

The “Must her child die?” also stands out as a simple but stark message.

I’d love to hear any other views on this. What are the lessons you think charity communicators can learn from Oxfam’s past?


Oxfam 1951



Oxfam 1962


Oxfam 1967


Oxfam 1969


Oxfam 1970


oxfam 1970


Oxfam 1972


Oxfam 1978


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