Festival Intelligence – Charities Breaking Boundaries | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence – Charities Breaking Boundaries

Festival Intelligence: Trends from the world’s best media and marketing campaigns – from this years shortlisted Festival of Media Global Awards – are explored each week by Jenni Baker, and this time the focus is on charities.

Charities are notoriously known for their ‘shock factor’ advertising. Remember Barnardo’s ‘Giving Back their Future’ 1999-2000 campaign in which it portrayed a series of print ads including a baby injecting itself with heroin, a toddler clutching a bottle of whisky and another preparing to commit suicide?

Content is and has always been king when it comes to charities and the use of celebrity influencers a staple in the marketing mix. From a media perspective, marketing efforts have traditionally skewed towards direct mail (still the sector’s most popular form of advertising), high impact print and TV ads, and people on the street to help drive donations.

But despite the growth of digital, recent research from nfpSynergy suggests that charities are still spending little on internet advertising (just 5% of total ad budgets). Yet Festival of Media Global Awards intelligence suggests that could all be about to change…

Digging specifically into the work submitted by charities this year, there’s no doubt that content is still very much firmly at the heart of marketing but, interestingly, it’s how they are using that content across multiple media channels that will make you want to stand up and take note.

Bold content and bold use of media are increasingly being used to educate and cut through with potential donors, in a much more accessible way. Content is no longer confined to one channel and instead there’s a move toward multiple formats to enable campaigns that leverage multiple media.

Marc Zander, global VP client partnerships at Teads, said: “I particularly liked the ideas where media channels had clearly been considered right at the start of the creative process and the way the content worked on a channel really cut through”.

Furthermore, you only have to look back on the success of the ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ to see the power of social media sharing but this year’s FOMG shortlisted entries suggest that charities are experimenting more and more with new technologies, such as live-streaming via Facebook Live and the beta trial deployment of the Facebook Donate button.

But it’s not just charities and non-profit organisations that are leading the way in this area. Brands themselves are increasingly focusing their efforts to a greater cause. And that’s something Jack Dyson, Senior Director, Global Head of Content Strategy at SAP Hybris sees as a welcome move:

“What impressed me most were the entries – and there was more than one – where the campaign took on something larger than the brand. A company can be – and increasingly needs to be – something greater than the sum of its products.

“So long as they do it responsibly and with humility, brands have an amazing opportunity to do good and reap the rewards. And it doesn’t have to be depressing. It can be engaging, uplifting, empowering. The best stories are the ones that are told in unexpected ways.”

We put the spotlight on two FOMG Awards 2018 shortlisted entries, which highlight this trend:

Just Another Day | Age UK | OMD | UK

Shortlisted for: Best Use of Content, Impact Award


Charity Age UK believes that ‘No One Should Have No One’ and its Christmas campaign aimed to tackle this loneliness by creating awareness, recruiting volunteers and increasing donations. Against a backdrop of Christmas advertising noise, it needed a smarter approach than traditional advertising.

The campaign insight came from the glaring contrast of most people’s festive experience versus the solitary existence that is the reality of lonely for older people. To build empathy with the issue, OMD identified a medium which bucked that was not only still trusted but also a catalyst for action and a format people wanted to spend time with: documentary films.

The agency created a content series themed ‘Just Another Day’ showing the isolation of a lonely older man, contrasted against a backdrop of people living a Christmas full of togetherness. The series consisted of a three-minute hero film on loneliness, 60” and 30” cut downs, and six vignettes contextually themed to specific moments. It used data and social listening to plan content distribution around the peaks for each moment, with additional original content created for VOD and social platforms.

Read the full case study here

Live from Inside the Human Body | Cancer Research UK | MediaCom | UK

Shortlisted for: Best Use of Content, Best Use of Live Streaming, Collaboration Award


People don’t believe cancer, the world’s biggest killer, can be beaten. Cancer Research UK set out to show how far it has come in beating the Big C – it would show how far cancer treatment has come by live streaming a colonoscopy from inside a human body.

In a global broadcasting first, MediaCom teamed up with Channel 4, the UK’s third largest broadcaster, to live stream a colonoscopy during an ad break. The 90” ‘Live from the inside’ advert was show simultaneously on TV as well as streaming the operation on Facebook Live.

The agency drove awareness of the world-first live-streamed TV ad by broadcasting 10-second teasers in the week running up to the live event. At launch, a cancer nurse took over the live-stream broadcast to answer viewers’ questions. The ad was also made available across Channel 4’s social media accounts.

Read the full case study here

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