In 2014 the Australian Government cut $11b from foreign aid. It was an historic moment that took our contribution to overseas aid and development to its lowest ever level. The worst part? No one seemed to care.
On the back of these cuts to aid, we partnered with more than 50 aid and development organisations in Australia to build a more generous and just country. The campaign begun with in-depth language analysis, and arrived at a fully integrated campaign incorporating a communications overhaul, digital, video, design for web and print, social media, PR and event management.
From Framing to Messaging
As Australia turns it’s gaze ever-more inward, foreign aid has become a term that disconnects our nation from it’s incredible contribution to building a better world. We wanted a campaign that from the outset would celebrate Australia’s place in the world and remind us all that helping our neighbours is part of who we are.
We worked in partnership with Common Cause to ensure that our campaign wouldn’t perpetuate stereotypes of development, white-knights saving sad children. We analysed the frames in which aid is communicated, on both sides of the issue, and found our place in a story of universal progress, and personal autonomy.
Taking this frame and establishing a communications guide for an entire sector was the next challenge. We used our preferred message testing process through Facebook advertising to find the best ways to take our frame to Australia and began to prepare a guide that would set the tone of Australia’s largest aid and development campaign.
Working in coalition
The Campaign for Australian Aid is a coalition of more than 50 aid and development organisations, as well as community groups, environment organisations and businesses. Here are a few of those involved:
With a list like that, stakeholder engagement became key to getting the campaign off the ground. We developed mood videos, brand marks and other collateral to help socialise the campaign concept, and our communications guide throughout these organisations, knowing that through building a coalition we would immediately find a more significant voice.
Once we had buy-in from the sector, we needed to turn our attention outward. With falling support for aid across all major parties, and most demographics we needed to ensure that our campaign sat on a firm foundation of research. Our early research showed that Australian uni students were most open to supporting the amazing work of Australian aid all over the world, and held the largest undecided audience that we could hope to persuade.
We backed up this demographic data by testing our assumptions on identity and values. We wanted to know if our core premise, of linking aid with the Australian ideal of fairness was still relevant for this group. Working alongside Galaxy, our research determined that fairness is the most important national value across all demographics, and that for young Australians they see Australia becoming increasingly less fair.
We also knew that this audience was no easy match. We needed to work hard to stand out, and match their expectations. The first result was our Fair Share food truck, which you can find out about in the next chapter of the campaign for Australian Aid.
“From the very start, this campaign was all about telling a brand new story about Australian Aid.”