‘The Burnt Christmas Tree’ Campaign in Australia Highlights the Devastation of Recent Brush Fires

With brush fires in Australia casting a shadow over what should be the most festive time of the year, a new campaign seeks to show the human cost of the devastation.

The campaign created by DDB Sydney in partnership with, Scoundrel, the City of Sydney and The Australian Red Cross drives this important point home with the creation of a very different kind of Christmas tree created with materials from areas that have been hit hard by the brushfires.

Designed by Scoundrel’s James Dive, the tree was crafted with logs, branches, and shrubs sourced from bushfire-affected areas of New South Wales. The tree is also decorated with burnt objects like a farm gate and bicycle and is topped with a star fashioned from a burnt-out bike wheel. These objects exist alongside signs of regeneration, including banksia seeds which require fire to sprout.



Along with viewing the tree, the public is encouraged to listen to an audio tour reflecting on the experiences of Australians whose lives have been affected by the fires.



Other partners in the campaign are Volkswagen Group Australia, Westpac and McDonald’s, all in an effort to raise funds for Red Cross and their ongoing efforts to help people prepare for, cope with, and recover from disasters.

From today until Thursday 19 December, people can visit and make a donation to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund by tapping their card on the presents beneath the tree.

“The devastation to families and community is beyond what many of us can even comprehend,” said Tara Ford, chief creative officer, DDB Sydney. “We hope this twist on the traditional symbol of giving and joy at this time of year will help capture people’s attention and provide them with an easy way to donate.”

“From arms’ length, it can be difficult to comprehend the true impact of the bushfires on the ground,” said Dive. “The act of collecting and building the tree from remnants of the fires has been sobering.

“We all want to help, and right now generosity is needed towards those who’ve lost everything, especially at this time of year.”


Creative Agency: DDB Sydney
Chief Creative Officer: Ben Welsh
Chief Creative Officer: Tara Ford 
Deputy Executive Creative Director: Matt Chandler
Creative Partner: David Jackson
Art Director: Elaine Li
Copywriter: Jared Wicker
Senior Designer: Ramon Rodriguez
Head of Integrated Content: Renata Barbosa
Editor: Silas Basich
Senior Sound Designer: Andy Stewart

PR Agency: Mango Sydney
Managing Director: Tabitha Fairbairn
Head of Consumer: Ben Handberg
Senior Account Manager: Gina Leung

Production Company: Scoundrel
Artist: James Dive
Executive Producer: Adrian Shapiro
Director BTS: Selina Miles
Construction: Greg Sets

Client: Red Cross Australia
Director Engagement & Support: Belinda Dimovski
Head of Marketing & Communications: Astrid Mallard
Emergency Campaigns Manager: Kate Moore
Marketing & Campaign Coordinator: Sarah Gallagher


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