HEKS char­i­ty shop Switzer­land: vir­tu­al but not tra­di­tion­al gifts

June 19, 2012
Medium of Communication
Direct mail, online, posters, press advertising
Target Audience
Single gift
Type of Charity
Poverty/social justice, public / society benefit
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
November, 2008

SOFII’s view

This first exhibit to come to SOFII from a Swiss fundraising organisation could hardly be better. Really beautiful, clever and creative images show different colourful characters opening a selection of Christmas presents in traditional surroundings, but finding, to their surprise and delight, that these presents are not traditional at all.

Creator / originator

Advico Young & Rubicam.

Summary / objectives

HEKS is a Swiss organisation founded by the Swiss Protestant Churches. The non-profit fights against poverty and aims to give people worldwide access to important resources such as water, food and education. HEKS helps oppressed people fight for their rights. The aim is for all people to be able to live self-determined lives in dignity. HEKS works overseas as well as in Switzerland.


The charity shop was created to give donors an option to buy a virtual Christmas gift, the money raised from which benefits disadvantaged people overseas and in Switzerland. The media used include website, charity shop, direct mail, posters, press advertisements and posters on public transport.


  1. The campaign is the first Swiss charity shop created explicitly to look professional as well as to have very attractive web and shop design. It also is the first such shop in Switzerland that uses a certain dose of 'fun' (in an eye-twinkling way) as an added attraction: gift ideas are presented in an attractive and 'fun' way, both visually and with a catchy (but appropriate) descriptive phrase and text.
  2. The shop is upfront about not actually sending actual beehives overseas, but explains that it puts the money into various funds to appropriately benefit various different groups.
  3. It is one of the first fundraising tools in Switzerland created to be really attractive for potential donors and Christmas gift shoppers. It manages to beautifully ride the fine line between 'doing good' and 'looking good by/while doing good'.
View original image
SOFII just loves the idea behind this shot. It creates an image of donors waking up on a sunny Saturday morning to open the exciting gift the postman has just brought from their favourite charity – a box overflowing with worms!
There are lots of other enticing gifts on offer.