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HHCL/Red Cell takes up Oxfam's fair trade challenge

LONDON - HHCL/Red Cell is reported to have won the three-way pitch for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign, charged with promoting the Big Noise petition with the aim of getting 500,000 signatures.

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The WPP Group agency pitched against Team Saatchi and WWAV Rapp Collins for the work, which will support Oxfam's global petition against unfair trade conditions for the developing world.

The charity said that nothing was confirmed at this stage.

Oxfam uses BMP DDB to handle advertising for its retail division, but the agency did not participate in the Make Trade Fair pitch.

HHCL was appointed in April 2002 by the Fairtrade Foundation, the organisation that fights for a better deal for marginalised and disadvantaged third world producers. It was set up by various charities, including Oxfam and Christian Aid, and has pioneered the Fairtrade mark to let consumers know which products it endorses.

The campaign criticises some of the world's biggest companies, especially those involved in coffee. Nestle has already been embarrassed by the Oxfam campaign over a $6m claim it was making against the Ethiopian government. Other companies named on its website include Sara Lee, Kraft and Procter & Gamble, and the drug company Pfizer, which is being urged to cut the price of medicines it sells to poor countries.

Celebrities including Coldplay lead singer and Gwyneth Paltrow's boyfriend Chris Martin, Noel Gallagher and Miss Dynamite have signed up to support the campaign.

Other initiatives to promote fair trade included the recent Fairtrade Fortnight, supported by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, food writer Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, the secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt and BBC news presenter George Alagiah, who is patron of the Fairtrade Foundation.

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