Oxfam: The Hunger £ Mil­lion Campaign

Exhibited by
Aline Reed/Mark Phillips, Bluefrog.
June 19, 2012
Medium of Communication
Press advertising
Target Audience
Type of Charity
International relief / development.
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
October, 1963

SOFII’s view

These simple, concise ads may seem a little outdated now, but they get the need across quickly and the call to action is clear. The drama builds up over the weeks until we get to one or two that might be controversial today – can you guess which one made a SOFII volunteer jump? Finally, campaign achieved with a million pounds in the bank, the adverts to say thank you really do congratulate the donors and make them feel as if they have done something special: which they had.

Creator / originator

Harold Sumption.

Summary / objectives

In 2005, following on from Make Poverty History, Oxfam launched its 'most ambitious campaign for support ever' – aiming to recruit a million new supporters in a hundred days. This campaign was called 'I'm in' and members of the public were asked to pledge their support – and hold the leaders of G8 countries to the promises they'd made to fight poverty. See advert here. In fact, it took a little longer than a hundred days to gather the million pledges, but I think it was achieved within the year.

Forty-two years earlier, Oxfam marked its twenty-first anniversary with another groundbreaking campaign, which aimed to raise a million pounds in the three months before Christmas.


Mark Phillips has found a series of nine press adverts that show the development of the Hunger £ Million Campaign. The first advert is an introduction to the campaign (October 1963). The last is a thank you (you guessed it – thanks a million) placed on 15 January 1964 announcing that the fundraising target had been met.

Special characteristics

This campaign demonstrates Oxfam's ambitious fundraising. Each advert is different as the story of the campaign unfolds. Take advert two, for example. 'Wanted £1,000,000 – we ask the whole country to back the biggest drive against hunger we have ever launched' – pretty bold.

As time goes by, the fundraising target drops (£959,304 by advert three), but the eye-catching adverts continue. Number seven is a hardworking Christmas advert – contrasting our time of plenty with hunger around the world. And it all ends with a thank you.

Influence / impact

This campaign looks like it inspired the later Million Names in a Hundred Days Campaign in 2005.


The million pounds was raised.


On its own, one of these adverts would have been of passing interest, but as a whole collection they make for an ambitious and presumably innovative campaign.

Other relevant information

Is this the complete set of adverts? Does anyone know?

You can see other related exhibits here: Oxfam's press ads from the 1950s and 60s.

View original image
This small advertisement manages to tell a little about the beginning of Oxfam, how it has grown in 21 years, to thank the donors for their help in the past and tell them how they can help with the latest challenge – to raise £1,000,000 in three months.
View original image
What is wanted? A million pounds. Who are we asking? Everyone. Why? Because no child should die from hunger. What do now? Give to Oxfam. No wonder this campaign was a success.
View original image
The third in the series is short and to the point.
View original image
It’s not just the obvious that stops malnutrition.
View original image
What an incredibly powerful headline.
View original image
Rather than talking generally about Oxfam’s work, this ad focuses on one project in one country.
View original image
A short shopping list with a headline that puts Christmas indulgences into perspective. Would anyone use it nowadays?
View original image
This is a great way to ask donors to give regularly, as well as say thank you.