Case Study: Samaritans

The charity used a hard-hitting message to help recipients understand the scale of teen suicide

Samaritans' Teenage suicide pact campaign
Samaritans' Teenage suicide pact campaign

Organisation: Samaritans
Campaign: Teenage suicide pack
Agency: TDA

Samaritans sent out a test pack in February intended to reactivate its lapsed donors and start more long-term relationships with donors.

Using the agency TDA, the charity put together a pack about teenage suicide, designed to shock and leading on the fact that about 600 people aged between 15 and 24 take their own lives each year.

The pack included a personalised letter describing the work Samaritans does to help combat the issue. It also told the real-life story of a girl called Emma who tried to commit suicide when she was a teenager.

Corinne Leloup, senior account director at TDA, says the pack showed both the work that the charity does and the difference that donors can make with their gifts. "It's crucial for us to demonstrate just how essential donations are to Samaritans," she says.

Two other variations of the pack were sent: one for existing donors, which was slightly less shocking, another, more personalised one for high-value donors. It was followed up with a reminder letter in March.

The pack was sent to 61,079 people at a cost of 65p each - total cost £39,700. It got 555 responses, with an average gift of £26.45. The total income was £14,677, excluding Gift Aid.

TDA says that, although the campaign cost more than it initially made, it was designed to be a long-term project that would be tested again in the summer and then rolled out to more people in November.


Dan Douglass, Executive creative director, Meteorite

Dan Douglass, executive director, MeteoriteThis pack left me cold for two main reasons. First, an absence of need in the total creative. I read Emma's story and the downward spiral of destruction with interest; and the way her parents blamed themselves showed how others were affected by Emma's self-harming tendencies.

But among the sparse photographic content in this copy-heavy pack, their smiling portraits softened the impact. The second reason was the stats. Unless presented in dramatic form, they tend to distance and objectify.

Expert rating
Creativity: 2
Delivery: 2
Total: 4 out of 10

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