Focus: Fundraising - Case study - Cricket fans hit by Sun Safety message

Nathalie Thomas, nathalie.thomas@haynet.com

Summary

Marie Curie Cancer Care has worked with NatWest for the past four years to raise money and encourage protection from the sun during the NatWest Cricket Series, the NatWest Challenge and the NatWest Women's Series.

This year's campaign has raised £89,191 so far.

Background

This is the fourth year Marie Curie Cancer Care has worked with NatWest on the Sun Safety Don't Get Caught Out campaign.

The campaign raises money for a skin cancer research project at the Marie Curie Research Institute in Oxted, Surrey. Marie Curie scientists are investigating the genetic changes behind the transformation of normal pigment cells into rapidly dividing cancer cells.

This year's campaign, which coincided with NatWest's '25 years in cricket' celebrations, encouraged cricket fans to donate to the charity in exchange for free suntan lotion, sun hats and information about sun protection.

Marie Curie benefited from an auction dinner and a corporate donation from the bank. The charity also receives a percentage of the income from sales of a NatWest-commissioned cricket book.

How it worked

Marie Curie staff were positioned at Sun Safety booths throughout the NatWest Series, the NatWest Challenge and the NatWest Women's Series, held between June and August. The charity asked cricket fans to make a donation in exchange for free sun hats and suntan lotion supplied by Banana Boat.

Visitors to the booths learned about Marie Curie's sun CARE code. This advises people to cover up by wearing a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses, to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm, to remember to apply sunscreen of at least factor 15 every two hours and to ensure children are protected.

Spectators also got a chance to win the match ball, signed by the man or woman of the match.

NatWest helped to raise funds for the charity by organising an auction dinner on 14 June, which was attended by the England one-day international team.

This year's campaign was also boosted by the publication of a book by Philip Brown and Lawrence Booth entitled Cricket: Celebrating the Modern Game, from which the charity continues to receive a percentage of sales revenue.

Results

Income from this year's Sun Safety campaign has reached £89,191 so far and Marie Curie continues to benefit from book sales. The 2005 total represents an increase of £47,604 on 2004.

According to Freya Moseley, spokeswoman for Marie Curie, the campaign has proved particularly beneficial in terms of gaining access to a wider market. "Our key market is older women," she says. "It's good to get exposure to a predominantly male audience."

EXPERT VIEW

Sarah Don-Bramah, account director, TDA What I love most about this event-based strategy is its positive message about enjoying the sun safely. Pinning it to the UK's most quintessentially 'summer' activity is just fantastic. Marie Curie Cancer Care has managed to broaden its appeal and tap into new audiences, resulting in excellent awareness raising as well as fundraising.

The charity is traditionally seen as having a very female positioning and is associated with nursing people at the end of their lives. However, the cricket tie-up turns this on its head, confidently placing Marie Curie in the 'here and now' for younger people who probably haven't had direct experience of cancer affecting them or their loved ones. Young men are notoriously difficult to engage with cancer-related messages, but this strategy takes them in its stride.

The delivery is spot on - especially the Sun Safety booths - and it enabled the strategy to ride on this year's good weather and the cricket mania surrounding the Ashes. The CARE code is a sweet way of communicating the more serious messages, but the creative execution of the Sun Safety pamphlets lets it down slightly. Perhaps next year the charity could achieve greater stand-out by persuading NatWest to take more of a back seat with the branding.

Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves: the money raised in 2004 was more than doubled this year.

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