Shell: Amnesty online ad campaign breaks all records

Online fundraising appeal surpasses expectations
Amnesty International UK’s first attempt at online fundraising to pay for advertising space has proved to be a phenomenal success.

Amnesty used Facebook, Twitter and Myspace as well as its blogger network and emails to its supporters to ask people to help pay for a hard-hitting newspaper advert to coincide with Shell’s AGM on 18 May.

Members of the public were asked to buy a square centimetre of space in a newspaper for £10 – those who bought three squares or more had their name printed in the ad.

The full-page ad, which ran in The Standard and The Metro, highlighted Shell’s responsibility for pollution in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where oil spillages and gas flaring have devastated the livelihoods of millions.

Reuben Steains, Amnesty International UK’s fundraising innovations manager, said:

“This was the first time we've asked our supporters to directly fund the cost of an advertising campaign and we've never seen them respond so quickly and in such large numbers to an online fundraising campaign.

“We achieved a return on investment of eight to one and raised three times our previous online fundraising record.

“The response on Twitter and Facebook was particularly strong. The campaign caused the biggest online ‘splash’ we’ve ever had.”

The success of the campaign meant Amnesty International was able to book advertising space in more than one newspaper and was able to hire an ad van to drive around the Shell AGM venue in central London on the day.

Reuben Steains added:

“We completely put our faith in Amnesty supporters when we came up with this idea, and they didn’t let us down. It was our supporters who owned the campaign and they made it happen, if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have been able to buy the media space.”

A few days after the campaign, Shell announced that they were committing $2 billion to reducing gas flaring in the Niger Delta in the coming years. However, it is only a start and Amnesty will continue to pressure Shell to ensure that they deliver on this promise and commit to cleaning up and compensating the people of the Niger Delta.

The ad was produced by Different Kettle.

View latest press releases