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History of Barnardo’s advertising

Please see the full list of previous campaigns, to see our more recent work.

Q. What advertising has Barnardo’s done in the past?

A. Thomas Barnardo often used advertising to demonstrate issues affecting children. He used images of dirty and malnourished children dressed in rags to actively court discomfort amongst Victorian patrons from which he sought financial support.

Vintage photo showing a child dressed in rags


Photo showing child previous dressed in rags, cleand up and studying in a classroom


Before photo showing a young lad in old clothes


Vintage photo showing a boy well dressed with tools and learning a trade


We have done many campaigns since then, here are some examples.

Q. What triggered a change in the nature of advertising of Barnardo's?

Barnardo's used to be a children’s charity famous for its orphanages and attracted financial supporters on that basis. However in 1966 Barnardo’s began closing its orphanages. Over the next 30 years the charity was relatively quiet and there was little communication to the public about its new areas of work. This lack of dialogue had a profound effect on how the charity was seen, particularly amongst younger age groups.

For these people, 88% spontaneously associated Barnardo’s with homes, orphanages and institutions. It was these people that Barnardo’s was seeking to recruit and yet the charity’s function appeared irrelevant to them in today’s society. This encouraged Barnardo's to re-think its approach. So in 1998 it was this generation of brand rejecters that we tasked our advertising agency with recruiting into the brand and repositioning of Barnardo's; as modern, relevant and deserving by bringing the public up-to-date with the vital work we do.