Digital Campaign of the Week: Macmillan's Poundland Facebook takeover

The cancer charity hopes to raise £30,000 from the campaign, which marks the seventh year of its partnership with the retailer

Macmillan's Poundland Facebook takeover
Macmillan's Poundland Facebook takeover

What is it?

Macmillan Cancer Support has commandeered the Facebook and Twitter profiles of its corporate partner Poundland for one week. The social media takeover, which was launched on 24 August and will last until Sunday, is designed to raise £30,000 in donations for Macmillan and boost awareness of the partnership among the discount retailer’s customers. It kicked off with the launch of a video about a young girl who decides to donate her prized £1 coin to Macmillan and continued with social media posts around daily hashtags such as #MondayMotivation, #CharityTuesday, #ThrowBackThursday and #FeelGoodFriday. It will culminate in Poundland stores taking part in Go Green, Go Macmillan, a fundraising event where staff dress in green, today and over the bank holiday weekend.

Why now?

This year is the seventh of a partnership between Poundland and Macmillan, so the charity wanted to come up with a memorable way to mark this and to generate income. It chose the week preceding the August bank holiday in order to capitalise on the large numbers of people expected to visit their local high streets this weekend.

How did the idea come about?

The charity approached Poundland about its idea for the campaign video at the start of the year. The charity wanted to produce a memorable video that would resonate with Poundland customers, so thought it logical to focus the storyline on a £1 coin and a character called Penny. The two organisations worked with the video production company Awakening Media to draw up a storyboard for the video and then record it over the summer.

How successful has it been?

During the first three days of the campaign, the campaign video was viewed 30,000 times on Facebook, while a similar number of people viewed Poundland’s Facebook posts about the charity. The Macmillan web page on Poundland’s website was viewed almost 2,000 times over the three days, compared with 38 views last year, while tweets by Poundland about the partnership generated more than 55,000 impressions. An email sent from Macmillan to Poundland customers about the campaign generated a 20 per cent open rate (equivalent to 41,000 people) within the first 24 hours.

What the charity says

Claire McMaster, head of corporate partnerships at Macmillan, says: "Now  in the seventh year of a successful partnership, we wanted a new way to engage with Poundland customers and colleagues to say thank you for their ongoing support. We know that Poundland’s customer base is becoming increasingly diverse, so we wanted to test out a campaign driven through social and online media to see how people received the charity partnership on these platforms."

Third Sector verdict

Taking over a corporate partner’s social media channels for a week is a fantastic idea that other charities could easily emulate. It remains to be seen how much will be raised for Macmillan in Poundland stores this weekend, but the charity is confident the activities will easily cover the costs incurred from producing its campaign video, and it will hope to raise significantly more than this. There is a concern that some people might mistakenly think that a £1 donation is sufficient to make a significant difference to the charity’s work, when some would want charities to set their entry points higher. But from a brand-awareness point of view, the campaign appears to have been highly successful, particularly with the email to Poundland customers and the huge increase in traffic to the Macmillan page on Poundland’s website.

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