Civil Rights Defenders

Project: Oppression Offset

Threats to democracy are closer than you think 

Swedes act against their moral beliefs of democracy because the topic of oppression at popular holiday destinations is made invisible by the travel industry. We needed to make this invisible consequence of actions visible.

01The challenge

The brief was to create an idea that drives awareness for Civil Rights Defenders and their work – and help people understand that threats against democracy are closer than they think.

02The solution

Our strategy involved showing democracy-loving Swedes how they unknowingly, but directly, contribute to autocratic regimes through their choices of destinations by creating an interactive tool.

Quantifying the impact of vacations


To show people how their choices of destinations directly contribute to autocratic regimes, we created an interactive tool based on a unique algorithm. The tool allowed travelers to calculate their own “Oppression Offset” – a new take on the more established carbon offset. The campaign assets mixed traditional travel agency stock photos with headlines about censorship and torture – creating an absurd contrast.

03The impact

Sparking a debate on choices in travel

Oppression Offset created global coverage and became Civil Rights Defenders’ most shared campaign ever. Thousands of visitors calculated their own offset for different trips. And the new tool and term sparked a debate on how to make ethical choices as a traveler. This led to ongoing negotiations and discussions between CRD and the industry organization on how the tool could be used by the industry going forward.

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