Survival International Roots Honors Indigenous People

Survival International‘s Roots award-winning advertising campaign raised awareness of indigenous people by placing clifftop Yanomami, Bushman and Aborigine individuals over the context of extensive root systems. What happens when people are moved from the place where they have always lived? What happens when governments and companies with economic interest in the area evict tribes from their lands? This is the message Publicis Spain chose to broadcast in this campaign for Survival: a worldwide non-governmental organisation that is fighting to uphold the right of native people to stay in the lands in which they were born. “Because when you take a person away from the place where they were born and have lived all their life, you tear them away from their roots”.

Yanomami woman stands over roots in Survival advertisement

For a Yanomani, her land is much more than the soil she treads.
Help us to prevent her from being evicted from her land at

The Yanomami (also spelt Yanomani and Yanomamö) people live in Brazil and Venezuela. See Wikipedia’s article on the Yanomami. The Yanomami live in large communal houses called yanos. The concept of ‘individual ownership’ of such a building is nonsensical to these people. A tribe’s right to decide, for example, whether a mining company should be allowed to operate on its land, also only makes sense as a collective right. Survival International is concerned that UK law dictates that these vital collective rights should be individual rights ‘exercised collectively’.

Aborigine man stands over roots in Survival advertisement

For an Aborigine, his land is much more than the soil he treads. Help us to prevent him from being evicted from his land at

The term ‘Aborigine’ (originated from Latin ab origine, meaning “from the origin or beginning”) refers in a general sense to indigenous peoples, peoples with a prior or historical association with a land, and who maintain (at least in part) their distinct traditions and association with the land, and are differentiated in some way from the surrounding populations and dominant nation-state culture and governance. The most common usage of the term Aborigine (Aborigen in Spanish) refers to the majority of Indigenous Australians. One of the major threats to Aboriginal access to traditional land is mining.

African bushman stands over roots in Survival advertisement

For a Bushman, his land is much more than the soil he treads. Help us to prevent him from being evicted from his land at

By choosing the ‘Bushman’ (Bosquimano in Spanish) as the subject of this advertisement Survival International and Publicis entered difficult territory. The term, “Bushman”, generally refers to an indigenous population of the Kalahari Desert, which spans South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and southern Angola. This collection of ethnic groups has been referred to as the “San” by their neighbours the Khoikhoi. The people themselves have used the terms Ju/’hoansi and !Kung but many relate to the terms “Bushmen” and “San”. Survival International has been campaigning for the return of the Bushmen to their traditional lands in the Kalahari Desert, contending that diamond mining has displaced these peoples.


The campaign was developed at Publicis Comunicación España by creative director Nicolás Hollander, copywriter Natalia Vaquero, art director Vanesa Sanz, account director Belen Serrano, photographer Joan Garrigosa, at Garrigosa Studio, with production manager José Ramón Uceda, Ana Machado and Paloma Varela.

The Roots campaign won awards at ADC (gold), Cannes (silver), FIAP (bronze), El Sol, (bronze) and Epica (bronze).

See the Survival International MySpace site

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