The Burnt Christmas Tree Launches to Help Communities Rise from the Ashes

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City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to to raise funds for Red Cross and their ongoing efforts to help people prepare for, cope with, and recover from disasters
The Burnt Christmas Tree Launches to Help Communities Rise from the Ashes

Over the past few weeks, the bushfires across Australia have cast a shadow on what should be the most festive time of year. To show the human cost of this devastation, but importantly hope for the resilience and recovery of our communities, a burnt Christmas tree has been built in Sydney’s CBD.

Designed by Scoundrel’s James Dive, the tree was crafted entirely 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.




While the public are viewing the tree, they’re encouraged to listen to an audio tour reflecting on the experiences of Australians whose lives have been thrown into chaos by the fires.

City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to help communities rise from the ashes via DDB Sydney + Scoundrel


Produced in partnership with the City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross, Scoundrel, DDB Sydney, as well as its key partners Volkswagen Group Australia, Westpac and McDonald’s, created The Burnt Christmas Tree 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.

City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to help communities rise from the ashes via DDB Sydney + Scoundrel

Says Tara Ford, chief creative officer, DDB Sydney: “The devastation to families and community is beyond what many of us can even comprehend. 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.”

City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to help communities rise from the ashes via DDB Sydney + Scoundrel

Says Dive: “From arms’ length it can be difficult to comprehend the true impact of the bushfires on the ground. 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.”

City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to help communities rise from the ashes via DDB Sydney + Scoundrel

City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to help communities rise from the ashes via DDB Sydney + Scoundrel
City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross build The Burnt Christmas Tree to help communities rise from the ashes via DDB Sydney + Scoundrel
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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

Genres: Storytelling

Categories: Environment, Corporate, Social and PSAs

DDB Sydney, 7 months ago