Oxfam Unwrapped

November 22, 2007 by  
Filed under Reviews

I have been pretty darn confused these past few weeks by the posters lining the tube escalators that consist of black and white photographs of forlorn looking celebs sealed at the mouth by a solitary red ribbon.  The likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Helen Mirren and Rob Bryden appealing tearfully to ascending herds of glazed-eyed commuters are actually part of Oxfam’s effective new campaign for alternative Christmas gifts. 

Far from the usual yank of the heartstrings, the ‘Oxfam Unwrapped’ TV advert parodies the customary sob story associated with charity ads. Its gloomy colouring and repetitive poignant piano music make a spoof plea for the poor souls who needlessly receive utter junk at Christmas.  The rapidly sliced shots of mockingly troubled faces keep the tone palatable but the genuine “really, really important message?, which has little to do with gift-disappointment is quite clear.  Spend your money on something decent.

Oxfam’s drive aims to shepherd the rosy cheeks of our consumerist, purse-waving festive frenzy in the direction of useful products for poorer countries.  Rather than smothering our loved ones with unnecessary stuff that gets slyly given away to people we don’t really like in January or put up on a shelf only to gather dust, we can instead drop our Christmas coins into a gracious till and buy tools, fertilizer or a toilet for a community in poverty. If the holiday must be about excessively pouring vast amounts of money into a black hole, let it be a hungry mouth, a vegetable patch or a loo for a poverty stricken village.  Kind of makes sense when put like that, doesn’t it?  Plus, think of the jaw-ache everyone will avoid minus all that fake smiling.