Amnesty moves away from shock tactic ads

ANNIE KELLY

Amnesty International is to refocus its membership recruitment programme with a new drive that shifts from the shock tactics of previous campaigns towards a more personal message.

A new mail pack aims to pull in members by communicating the core values of the charity and engaging people through a personal story. The creative tells the story of a Tibetan nun who has been imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for singing freedom songs. The pack aims to convey how people can help the charity to lobby for her release through making a donation and sending a postcard to the Tibetan jail where she is being held.

It is a move away from the imagery used by Amnesty's previous recruitment literature, which showed how everyday items can be used as instruments of torture.

Two pieces of creative have been the mainstay of the charity's recruitment marketing since 1996. The packs used a pen and an iron and explained how seemingly innocuous items could be used against people by oppressive regimes around the world.

The new creative will be directly tested against the existing mail packs, which have been delivering diminishing returns over recent months. Depending on the success of the campaign, Amnesty plans to extend the creative to other media in the autumn.

"We're looking at developing a much more personal message and building an immediate close bond with new supporters,

said Joel Voysey, supporter recruitment manager at Amnesty. "It's a direct approach asking people to go above and beyond making a simple donation, and we're hoping that this will transmit the basic values of our organisation."

He added that although the new mailing signalled a gentler approach, the organisation would continue to translate its objectives through hard-hitting campaigns.

"The new pack is designed to take a fresh approach to recruiting new members, but the inherent message is still there

he said.

At Amnesty we've always been able to push the envelope in terms of our messaging, as there is no nice way to communicate what we're fighting against. It will be interesting to see how people react to this new creative which tries to build empathy between the reader and the prisoner.

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