Trending modern slavery out of fashion

baptist world aid · News-

It’s hard to believe Layla, a garment worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh, started full-time work at a factory when she was just 14. She experienced abuse and was forced to hide with other children when inspectors came. Working 13-hour days she now earns just $85 a month, barely enough for her and her children to afford the basics to survive. 

Layla is just one of the world’s 60 million garment workers – 90% of which don’t earn a living wage from Australian fashion brands – the key stat revealed in a campaign for Baptist World Aid, launched by Keep Left’s PR team last week. 

Since the not-for-profit released its first Ethical Fashion Report nine years ago, we’ve helped them shine a light on the fashion industry’s poor practices in the hope of changing consumer behaviour. 

Its biggest and most damning report, released this year, looked at 580 brands and gave them a score out of 100. And with an industry average of just 29 out of 100, our team knew we needed to dial it up a notch. 


Nowhere to hide 

To achieve the overarching business goal of driving change in the fashion industry, we honed-in on shoppers as our target audience for the campaign to demand action directly (through BWA’s Speak Out to Brands tool) or indirectly with their wallets. Ditching the A+ to F grading system this year, there was really no place to hide for fashion brands in the report, so our media strategy leaned into that the power of public pressure targeting headlines the audience would choose to stop and engage with.  

Our narrative gave media the conflict they needed with shocking overall data, while balancing this with the positives of the top 10 brands and the top 10 biggest improvers. We also made the story relatable to our audience with quotable quotes that put the plight of underpaid garment workers into context with the cost-of-living pressures dominating the news agenda. Check out our media release in all its glory here. 



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With a couple of brand-new spokespeople, we stress-tested the campaign narrative and key messaging under some robust cross-examination from our ex-journalist turned Account Director Jay Smiles during a comprehensive media training session. With so much data and insight at their fingertips we focussed on bold, concise and emotive quotable quotes to earn the attention of our audience. 

Then following our tried and tested media campaign strategy of a strong media package, detailed planning and early media engagement, we started seeding out the story and securing interviews more than a week out.  

Come launch day and the story splashed across the papers, the team hit the phones at 6am to make sure every news bulletin in the country knew they had a BWA spokesperson available for an interview. And that media training sure did come in handy, with radio grabs across more than 200 radio stations nationally and an in-studio interview for ABC National TV News which our rookie spokesperson absolutely nailed (watch it here). 


Earning the R in ROI 

Despite the campaign launching in yet another busy news cycle with devastating Victorian flooding almost blanketing coverage, the results and impact have been remarkable. 

Some of our favourite thumb-stopping headlines and ear pricking soundbites that earned the attention of our target audience included: 

Just 10% Of Fashion Brands Pay Their Factory Workers A Living Wage – Elle 

Make Change Happen: The 2022 Ethical Fashion Report Calls for Action– Peppermint 

Only one in 10 clothing brands pay ‘living wage’ – The Age 

Aussie Brands Among ‘Most Improved’ in 2022 Ethical Fashion Report But There’s Still a Long Way To Go – Broadsheet 

Unethical Fashion Brands Revealed – Triple J Hack 


We secured almost 300 media stories with a reach of 35 million at an average Impact Score quality of 81 out of 100 – showing strong key message and call to action penetration in majority Tier 1 media publications.  

In fact, the campaign has landed a record of perfect impact scores with three stories scoring 100 out of 100: The Sydney Morning Herald and features stories in Broadsheet and Peppermint Magazine. 

Zoning in on our target Gen Z/millennial shopper audience, we also secured stories in Triple J Hack, Daily Aus, The Oz, Elle and the My Millennial Money podcast. 

If you’re talking ROI then the campaign has been ridiculously successful. More than 5,000 per cent ROI, if you’re going by the inherently flawed advertising equivalent value of half a million dollars.  

But even more importantly, 90% of stories included a link to the report or a strong call to action, meaning the Baptist World Aid website has been blowing up! 700 users a minute during launch day, meaning more shoppers thinking and acting ethically.  

That’s the definition of ideas with impact!