FUNDRAISING NEWS: Refugee body ads call for action

ANNIE KELLY

The Refugee Council is to launch an acquisition drive using press ads that ask people to take positive action against a rising tide of negative press coverage.

The ads will be strategically placed in national newspapers and magazines over the next year.

"Many people feel that the acres of adverse media coverage on refugees is unfair and we want to give them the opportunity to do something about it,

said Claire Millerchip, direct marketing manager at The Refugee Council.

"We're hoping that the message communicated by these ads will boost our membership base and recruit active supporters."

Previously, the charity has used press advertising to respond to significant events or major news stories, but this is the first time that it has run an ongoing fundraising and awareness campaign.

"The Refugee Council always had a policy of using one-off press advertising, but this new campaign will be used throughout the year on an ad hoc basis to try and get new supporters on board,

said Bryan Miller, director of client services and planning at Whitewater, the agency which designed the campaign.

The drive features two separate ads designed to respond to different editorial coverage of refugees. The first intends to show that refugees can positively contribute to society, and highlights a range of things seen as British that have actually been introduced by refugees, such as the Mini car.

Another ad, entitled "stand up", tells the story of a refugee who had been strapped to a chair and tortured in his homeland before finding refuge in the UK.

Both executions will ask for a cash gift to help The Refugee Council and encourage readers to become regular donors. "The ads will be used when and if appropriate, and we hope that the two different messages will work well in communicating the other side of the story,

said Millerchip.

The first ads will appear in New Internationalist and London Review of Books before testing in national broadsheet press.

"We're taking this campaign very seriously and are liaising with our advocacy and campaigns team to identify when would be the right time for these ads to have the greatest impact,

said Millerchip.

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