Case study: PDSA

The charity made a London Marathon direct mail appeal focusing on one of its vets who was running the race

PDSA's mail pack
PDSA's mail pack

Campaign: Marathon Appeal 2010

Agency: Watson Phillips Norman

Each year, the animal welfare charity PDSA sends out a London Marathon direct mail pack to about 150,000 of its supporters, focusing on a PDSA vet who is running the marathon for the charity.

The pack is designed as a six-page wallet, including a personalised letter and a good luck card for the runner.

In 2010, the appeal included digital methods, such as campaign emails and coverage on social networks, and some telemarketing. After the event, a follow-up postcard was sent to donors, thanking them and letting them know of the runner's success.

Gail Cookson, the client services director at the agency Watson Phillips Norman, which worked on the campaign, said the project was a challenge.

"Animal charities need to work hard to stand out when recruiting sponsors for this event," she said.

The inclusion of details about the PDSA vet in the pack introduces a quasi-sponsorship element.

A detailed fold-out map of the marathon course makes the pack more innovative, and the wealth of animal imagery and case histories included draw on supp- orters' empathy for the cause.

The 2010 appeal was a success, delivering an 8.2 per cent response rate, up from 6.5 per cent the previous year.

The average donation made was 8.6 per cent more than in the previous year, and the appeal generated more than £135,000, with an ROI of 173.3 per cent.

Sophie Hudson

EXPERT VIEW - Chris Arnold, founder and creative partner, Creative Orchestra

The marathon is a very exciting challenge, but this campaign lacks any excitement. Was I inspired? Not at all.

It is a worthy and very traditional approach, but I feel it should have been less formulaic and more innovative.

The idea of using a vet is a simple and effective way to engage supporters, but Tim, the boy next door, lacks the celebrity magic. Why is he always shown alone?

Supporting a charitable cause is an emotional thing, but this piece is too rational and flat. This lacks the energy I would expect from such a fantastic and dynamic charity.

Expert rating

Creativity: 2

Delivery: 3

5 out of 10

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