In spring last year, the NSPCC trialled legacy banner adverts online for the first time in an attempt to encourage more people to leave money to the charity in their wills.
An online legacy campaign is not an obvious natural fit: internet use is still associated with younger people, who are less likely to think of making wills. But the recent surge in people in their 40s and 50s signing up to Facebook convinced Whitewater, the direct marketing agency that has handled the NSPCC's legacy marketing for three years, to try the social networking website.
The campaign was designed to generate more than 30 downloads of a 'legacy pack' over eight weeks. That's a modest figure, but the charity reasoned a single legacy donation could easily cover the £9,000 cost of the campaign, which included Whitewater's fee and the price of advertising on Facebook. "If we got 30 downloads we could almost guarantee at least one would generate a legacy," says Richard Patterson, head of digital at Whitewater.
Whitewater used Facebook's pay-per-click advertising service, which enables users to target people by keywords that relate to their interests, in order to keep the campaign targeted and relatively inexpensive.
It aimed to reach affluent people in their 50s, particularly women. Staff tried to come up with 30 key words that were likely to appeal to them. "It was fun trying to decide what someone in this demographic would be into," says Patterson. The keywords they settled on included 'grandkids', 'church' and 'Deal or No Deal'.
Using a browser plugin called Facebook Ads Manager, Whitewater tracked how many clicks each keyword generated. Anyone who clicked on the site was taken to a page that enabled them to pledge a legacy donation to the NSPCC.
The campaign generated more than 90 legacy pack downloads from the landing page - three times more than the target.
Alex McDowell, legacy marketing manager at the NSPCC, said: "This approach, while testing new ways of reaching potential legators, is in keeping with the NSPCC's broader legacy marketing strategy of generating enquiries and increasing consideration rates, rather than getting people to take action before they feel ready or comfortable to do so."
EXPERT VIEW - Chris Catchpole, Creative director, Creative Direction Consultants
Facebook is a place where young and old people spend time. If, like me, you have children who use it, you'll be familiar with the concerns about protecting them.
I think it is this worry that forms the basis of the charity's strategy: "If you care about children, you'll consider including the NSPCC in your will." But with each response costing £100, they'd better produce a few sign-ups.
For me, the idea is shallow (one-dimensional, veneer thin), the execution dull and uninspiring. Nothing stands out and it seems to be an expensive way to operate.
However, legacies bring in vast amounts of cash, so it will no doubt pay for itself in the long term.
The NSPCC regularly produces brilliant work, but this an unremarkable campaign. A respectable strategy that didn't get out of first gear creatively.
Total: 2 out of 10