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Examples of charity campaigns getting cut-through with digital marketing

By 10 Jun, 2013
Essential
Campaign creative

6 examples show how you can get your charity noticed

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As a marketing agency, The Marketing Bureau (TMB) knows the importance of a strong brand and awareness of digital marketing which is why they want to reach out and share their knowledge with others. This post was written to help charities who may not necessarily have access to the resources featured in these examples. Please read, share and enjoy to make the most of your marketing and to grow your charities.

Over the past there’s been some great campaigns undertaken by charities which have helped them get noticed. Here’s a selection of TMB's  favourite campaigns that never fail to draw attention to themselves (and even raise a chuckle or shed a tear).

1. RNLI does the Harlem Shake

The RNLI has grasped the latest crazy social media phenomenon known as the Harlem Shake. This has gone viral and has over 36,000 views so far on YouTube. It’s completely unexpected yet genius at the same time.

Why does it work?

Because it’s so current. Everyone’s talking about the Harlem Shake and everyone’s doing their own versions at work / home to show the world. It’s relatively cheap and easy to do and definitely attracts attention.

2. Do something funny for money: Comic Relief

It’s that time of year again when every wears red roses and dresses up in their pyjamas, spray paints their hair a luminous colour or does a crazy sponsorship for Comic Relief.

The whole of the UK becomes involved, from watching it on telly to participating in buying a red nose or a cake from a bake sale or even taking on a sponsorship challenge. There’s no escaping it.

charity comic relief

Why does it work?

Well obviously it’s got the backing of many famous celebrities and is known nationally, but also because it’s associated with wearing a red nose. It’s something different, it stands out and it’s consistent.

It’s the same concept each year, yet they manage to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for mosquito nets, safe drinking water, medicines and basic amenities to help deprived third world countries. They’ve made it easy for people to raise money, with lots of great ideas on sponsorship packs, posters for them to download and get merchandise to wear to raise awareness and show support.

3. 1 like = £1 with Simplyhealth

Private health insurer Simplyhealth has launched a social media campaign to get noticed and it’s certainly worked. For every ‘like’ on their Facebook page they’ll donate £1 to Heart Research UK. It couldn’t be simpler.

Why does it work?

Because it’s different and because everyone can participate without opening their purse. All it takes is a simple ‘like’ on Facebook.

People can really feel like they’re helping a good cause and can share with their social media friends to spread the news like wildfire, giving them a warm fuzzy feeling of doing good on the inside. What a great way for a health insurance company to raise their profile and help charity at the same time.

4. RSPCA TV ad

The RSPCA launched their ‘voices’ campaign in 2010 to raise awareness for the charity to show that people have to step in and take action as animals don’t have a voice. And what would we hear if they could speak? Are they happy or unhappy at the way they’re being treated? It really makes you think.

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Why does it work?

As a nation of animal lovers it works as a shock campaign to strike a cord with cute helpless animals with innocent voices. No one can resist an advert like this.

5. Cancer Research Campaign banned

This campaign by Cancer Research UK doesn’t set an example to follow but it DID raise a lot of attention and awareness. The direct mail campaign was banned by the Advertising Standards Agency for 'threatening' recipients with a letter from cancer itself.

“Everyone knows me. And they know the devastation I cause … I AM CANCER … I don’t care who I hurt … But now it’s getting harder. More and more of you are ganging up on me. People are giving money and funding research. Scientists are outsmarting me. And there’s one group threatening me the most. Cancer Research UK are fighting back … Don’t donate to Cancer Research UK. I’m sure you have better things to spend your money on than trying to beat me. Don’t you?”.

Why does it work?

We wouldn’t say it 'worked' as such. But it still managed to get in the press and generate awareness for the charity despite the fact it was banned. It’s something a bit different from the general charity marketing letter explaining who the charity is, how much they need to raise and what they do. Even the way it was packaged in a brown envelope was something different to attract attention.

6. Movember

People associate November with Movember; the month for raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer charities.

Why does it work?

It’s simple to take part in, and simple to support. Males grow a moustashe and people donate money to the cause. Wearing a tashe on your face shows your support for fighting prostate cancer and contributes to raising awareness. Girls can even take part too by wearing moustashe socks, nails, earrings, necklaces, t-shirts and many other products.

Even handmade cosmetics company LUSH joined in by creating moustashe shaped bath bombs on sticks!

So here’s some ideas to get your charity noticed with specific campaigns:

  • Share – It’s all about sharing your brand across all platforms, especially social media.
  • Be quick – keep it topical. Just look at the RNLI’s Harlem Shake video and the Three pony advert – both very topical at the moment and guaranteed to attract attention.
  • Get your message across – in the right way. Push the boundaries and make people stop and think. But not too far.
  • Measure – measure your engagement, how many people watched your video? How much money did that event raise? How many new Facebook and Twitter subscribers did you recruit?

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