Campaign Spotlight: Using Creativity to Charge Up Help for Fighting Australian Bushfires

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Australia is no stranger to wildfires, but it’s been a long three months for the people residing in the continent.  The combination of prolonged drought that started since 2017, a record-breaking heatwave, and strong winds has resulted in the endangerment of wildlife habitat and animals as many have seen in devastating images of burned animals on the side of the roads.

It’s the season of people coming together, and although this isn’t ideally how people would imagine it to be, creatives from Australia are working together to give attention to the national crisis that is happening in their country, raising funds for those who were affected by the wildfires.

In December, DDB Australia built an art installation to assist Australian Red Cross in raising funds. At one of the busiest areas in Sydney, a ‘burnt’ Christmas tree was erected, made of burnt pieces of wood, remnant metal materials, and a bicycle wheel in replacement of the star at the top; a poignant reminder of how families affected by the fire will be celebrating the holidays.

Passersby were awed by the installation and were encouraged to give donations by scanning a QR code or visiting the official red cross website.

Crafters from around the globe also reached out to the Australian-based Animal Rescue Craft Guild, ferociously knitting to create bat wraps, joey pouches, birds nests, possum boxes, koala mittens and other snuggly homes for marsupials. Nearly 18 million acres of land have been burned, most of which was home to the country’s beloved wild life.

On December 25, right after the annual Queen’s speech in the United Kingdom (UK), a $15 million dollar campaign ad featuring Kylie Minogue was aired on television, enticing viewers to escape UK politics, and visit their friends ‘down under’. Matesong, created by M&C Saatchi during merrier times, has been canned and pulled by Tourism Australia as the campaign appeared tone-deaf with the current situation of vast areas around the country ravaged by wildfires.  

The video was shot before the recent bushfires happened in early September. 

Matesong (Official Video) Tourism Australia Ad 2019

There were also art made to criticize the government’s response to the crisis. Oh Yeah Wow, an Australian production company, created a 95-second animation with colors varying from bright reds to scorched oranges derived from the images of the bush fires scattered online. The narrator is voiced by a young child calling politicians, “lazy, ignorant fossil fuel chumps”, who have ignored the severity of the situation.

Oh Yeah Wow have requested that donations go straight to wildlifevictoria.org.au/ to support injured wildlife.

Another art campaign that was made in criticism towards politicians, was made by Greenpeace in partnership with Australian Agency The Works on a twist on the traditional snow globe. Instead of snow, the globe was filled with ash and an angry Santa at the center, holding a protest placard that says, It’s beginning to look a lot like climate change”.  The ‘Ash Globe’ would be sent to climate change blockers and activists. 

“It’s Christmas and it’s snowing in Sydney, snowing ash from fires that rage across the country. And while bush fires are relatively normal, the extremity of these are not. Look out your window, climate change is here,” says Guy Patrick, creative director at The Works, part of RXP Group. 

“Our leaders won’t listen to scientists, tens of thousands of protesting school children, or even the overwhelming majority of Australians. Maybe, just maybe, a tubby middle-aged white man can get through to our leaders? The globes are small but pack a punch that will hopefully cut through any apathy towards the state of our planet.”

Climate change is real, and it doesn’t want our attention anymore, it demands for our actions. 

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