Focus: Fundraising - Case study - The bangle worth a quarter of a million

Helen Barrett

Summary

Last year, Clic merged with Sargent Cancer Care to form Clic Sargent - a charity providing clinical services for children with cancer or leukaemia, and financial and emotional support to their families. The newly merged charity has since raised £250,000 from the sale of designer friendship bracelets.

Background

Designer Jade Jagger and Lady Helen Taylor, both Clic Sargent supporters, dreamt up the branded friendship bracelet to raise funds for the new charity.

Their idea was to create a high-fashion version of the charity wristbands that were so popular last year.

The bracelet, designed to appeal to people of all ages, was launched at a celebrity party in London hosted by Jagger and Taylor, and attended by actress Brooke Shields and designer Matthew Williamson, who both wore the bracelet.

How it worked

The bracelets, which were designed free of charge by Jagger, were made of woven cloth and silver-coloured metal, and sold in return for donations at the luxury jeweller Garrard and in branches of the high-street retailer Gap. Available in a choice of three colours, they were sold for a suggested donation of £1 each in the stores or £2 each on the Clic Sargent website.

Editorial coverage and celebrity support were key to the campaign's aims of raising funds and awareness. The in-house PR team generated 56 pieces of press coverage, including appearances in Vogue, Grazia and The Times.

A box of bracelets appeared in EastEnders, for sale on the bar in the Queen Vic, and singers Joss Stone and Ms Dynamite were pictured wearing them on stage.

Results

Clic Sargent aimed to raise £250,000 from sales of the first batch of bracelets. The initial batch sold out, with some stores even reporting waiting lists. Hello! magazine bought 550,000 of a new winter range in orange, red and green, again designed by Jagger, to use as cover mounts on its Christmas edition. All of this enabled the charity to achieve its fundraising target over the 2005 summer and autumn season.

An additional 44,000 bracelets have been ordered for summer 2006, this time available online and in Clic Sargent charity shops. Sarah Talbot-Williams, director of campaigns and communications at Clic Sargent, said: "This was a special opportunity for us, not only to make significant income from a product, but also to establish our new brand name in a crowded charity market."

EXPERT VIEW

Colin Offland, managing director, Chief Productions

The rubber charity bracelet was a brilliantly simple idea that transcended fundraising to become a fashion accessory in its own right. For the early adopters, especially Lance Armstrong's Livestrong campaign, it proved a wildly successful awareness-driving tool and a potent fundraiser. But as the bracelets proliferated, their ubiquity - and the fact that they started popping up for almost anything (my local record shop produced some to celebrate its fifth birthday, for example) - dulled their impact and, for those more interested in the fashion than the cause, their desirability.

In this context, Clic Sargent's decision to move the concept along a bit makes good sense. Likewise, Jade Jagger has the right combination of coolness, universal appeal and celebrity status to guarantee a decent tilt at PR coverage.

It's this latter aspect of the campaign that most impresses. The spread of press coverage was excellent - the involvement of Hello! seeded the bracelets effectively among the target audience.

If I had one reservation, it would be the campaign's female bias. The bracelets are quite feminine and there seems little in the strategy designed to snare the interest of men - something the Livestrong campaign did very well.

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