Christian Aid has gone for something completely different in its annual fundraising week, which begins on Sunday with a £15m target. The charity has launched an integrated TV, print and online advertising campaign that shows a bizarre Monty Python-style contraption called a multiplier turning a single chicken into dozens of chickens.
The slogan on the print ads says 'It's raining hen, Hallelujah, it's raining hen'. The 'You add, we multiply' strapline that appears on all the ads suggests that even the smallest donation can grow and bring change.
'A gift is great,' reads the ad, 'but a gift that creates more gifts is brilliant.'
The idea is to prompt people to take the first step towards giving by emphasising the pump-priming effect a donation can have.
Jeff Dale, head of marketing at Christian Aid, said: "We wanted to take a positive, optimistic approach with our advertising for Christian Aid Week to inspire and motivate people to help. Like all good ideas, it's incredibly simple. Whatever goes in gets multiplied. This way, poor communities can grow their way out of poverty."
The TV adverts, which begin this Friday on terrestrial and satellite channels, feature a journalist reporting on the invention of this fantastic new machine. Filmed in South Africa, the ad features local people, an actor playing the reporter and a squabbling cast of pigs, goats and chickens.
"The ad shows people in the developing world running the machine themselves," said Dale. "It's not about us, the western experts, running things." The TV adverts will also run in the Republic of Ireland, a new departure for the charity.
Christian Aid Week began in 1957 as a door-to-door fundraising campaign, but has grown into a multimedia initiative. Last year the week raised £14.8m. Colour press ads will appear in national, regional and church newspapers and magazines, including The Big Issue, Time Out and NME. Three million envelopes are included in the press drop, doubling the number of houses they reached from last year.
The Christian Aid website, www.caweek.org, will also carry a download of the online film.