Oxfam: tax avoidance hurts the world’s poor

Oxfam have released a new ad which dramatises the argument that tax avoidance deprives developing countries of funds for vital services.

The film is spectacular.

Shocking audiences of charity and NGO ads into action is incredibly hard; Oxfam have bravely tried an approach which doesn’t involve depicting real life poverty and deprivation and I strongly suspect their results will be better because of it.

The ghoulish movements and masks of the ‘thieves’ are genuinely unsettling.

The stylish framing of the shots, high production values and pacing of the edit make it feel akin to the opening sequence of a Hollywood film.

Whilst I felt the section where the ‘thieves’ were inflicting harm went on too long, there were a couple (the oxygen mask and the baby) where I felt genuine anguish.

Releasing the film on halloween is also clever – the scary nature of the story makes the content feel timely and relevant.

Add to this the fact that the ad is hugely provocative and it means that it’s very likely people will share it on social media (nothing spreads quite like outrage).

It’s such a shame – but ultimately understandable – that the first few seconds of the ad are given to an age restriction message; it must be very frustrating for the makers that a significant portion of people won’t be given the opportunity to be hooked into the story on their newsfeed as they’ll scroll straight past what looks like a black screen.

Regardless: top marks to Oxfam GB – definitely the best hijack of halloween this year.

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