COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: ActionAid expects high response to Shifty Fifty

ActionAid is predicting a response from "tens of thousands

of people to its latest food rights campaign.

The charity's "Shifty Fifty

internet-based campaign, launched as part of ActionAid week (1-7 September) focuses on the £50 paid annually by the British tax payer in agricultural subsidies through an animated character, Shifty Fifty.

Action Aid has been running an international initiative on food rights for the past two years, but Shifty Fifty is the latest in a series of specific in-country campaigns within it, designed to resonate with specific audiences.

It forms part of the "lighter, softer approach

which ActionAid now uses to get serious messages across, said marketing and planning director Margaret Shaw.

Cartoons and games form part of the web site, www.shiftyfifty.com, as well as explanations of the issues and an opportunity for people to contribute to an e-postcard campaign targeting the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Franz Fischler.

The campaign aims to reduce agricultural subsidies in the European Union, which it says ruin livelihoods for small farmers in parts of Europe and the developing world.

The organisation wants to build momentum among the public on the issue of food rights, said Shaw, over and beyond its core group of campaigners.

"We're never going to achieve success unless we get a mass of people behind us, not necessarily taking action but having some kind of a feeling that this isn't quite right,

she said.

Two weeks ago ActionAid paid for a supplement in free newspaper Metro as part of a bid to communicate with a broader audience. The newspaper is read by 400,000 young, affluent London commuters every week day. Earlier in the year, the charity ran a supplement in The Guardian to coincide with the Earth Summit.

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