Case Study: Jewish Care

The charity wanted to change perceptions of older people. It explains why and an expert gives his verdict.

Jewish Care's Pearls of Wisdom campaign
Jewish Care's Pearls of Wisdom campaign

Jewish Care came up with the idea of a campaign to change perceptions about older people at the beginning of 2010.

"About 80 per cent of the work Jewish Care does is for older people," says Justine Harris, director of marketing and communications at the charity, which runs a range of services, including residential homes, social clubs and day centres. "We wanted to become more of a champion for older people and raise awareness of their value. They are often ignored and feel isolated."

One of the charity's supporters arranged a meeting between representatives of Jewish Care and the creative director Malcolm Green, who has co-created a number of TV advertising campaigns. Green sympathised with Jewish Care's cause and offered his services free of charge.

The result was a six-minute film, Pearls of Wisdom, which featured Jewish Care clients in their homes talking about their experiences and opinions on subjects such as war, family, love and money.

"We wanted to challenge the way people think about older people and show that they can be amusing and wise," says Harris. The film was made in summer 2010 and featured 14 people aged 83 and over, including some centenarians. One of the people featured has since died.

The film was screened in a number of local cinemas in London - at no cost to the charity - over a 10-day period in November, and has also been available on YouTube, where it has been viewed almost 16,000 times.

"We thought it was best to use film because it is the most engaging medium," says Harris. Adverts were also run over a five-week period in the Jewish press.

Harris says that Jewish Care has been contacted by other organisations, such as the National Autistic Society, with requests to use the film. It has also been tweeted about by a number of celebrities, including Jonathan Ross, David Baddiel and Lord Sugar, as well as Sarah Brown, the wife of the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

Because the film proved popular, Jewish Care is now in the early stages of exploring how it might be used to raise funds. "The film was not meant to create a sense of need, but the next stage will be to move it into a fundraising arena," says Harris.


Pearls of Wisdom is a beautifully-shot film with some wonderful, genuine performances. It has great intentions, but unfortunately it feels as if somewhere in it there is a frustrated Channel 4 or BBC4 one-hour documentary trying to get out. There is an uncertain flow to the film - it jumps between pathos, insight and humour, leaving the viewer uncertain about how they are expected to engage with it.

From a campaigning perspective, I can imagine the available material could be used to make different versions of the film with more impact, as part of a wider integrated campaign - perhaps with humorous edits or more insightful 'pearls' that stimulate a reassessment of older people in society. Unfortunately, this five-minute film doesn't, for me, achieve what it's set out to, despite its great production values.

Creativity: 4
Delivery: 2
Total: 6 out of 10

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now