Case study: Remember A Charity Week

Remember A Charity Week began in 2009 to encourage more people to leave charitable gifts in their wills.

Rocky Taylor performed a live stunt for Remember A Charity Week
Rocky Taylor performed a live stunt for Remember A Charity Week

It is organised by a consortium of 150 voluntary organisations, including the RNIB and Save the Children, and was set up to increase the number of people who bequeath gifts. Currently only 7 per cent do so.

Legacy campaigns are never easy because they require people to think about death, inheritance and what to do with their money.

This one, devised by the communications agency DDB UK, tried to overcome these taboos by using entertainment and the charismatic personality of Rocky Taylor, the stuntman and star of the campaign.

It took place between 12 and 18 September. The main activity was the One Stuntman, One Legacy initiative featuring Taylor, who at 64 is one of Britain's oldest stuntmen.

Elaine Miller, a planner at DDB, says research shows people are more likely to leave legacies if you can get them to engage with the subject.

Last year's campaign revolved around TV adverts, which viewers were more likely to receive passively.

"Our strategy was to create a bold, entertaining idea that would generate PR and reach our audience, but also stimulate conversation and engagement with the issue," says Miller.

The campaign had to appeal to the media as well as engage over-50s, the most likely age group to write wills.

Taylor's age, personality and occupation made him the ideal frontman. He did two stunts: one involved leaping 40 feet off a flaming building. A TV advertising campaign in which he discussed why having a will and leaving a legacy was important to him took place in the run-up to the event.

This was followed by a live stunt in which he broke a Guinness World Record for the largest glass sheet smashed by a car. He jumped a car at speed through a sheet of glass at the O2 Arena, London. Both stunts were heavily branded by the charity.

The campaign generated £1.28m of free broadcast PR. Research carried out after both the 2010 and the 2011 campaigns asked people who'd seen them if they would now be more likely to talk to friends and family about making charity bequests. Thirty-nine per cent more people said "yes" after the 2011 campaign than did so a year earlier.

EXPERT VIEW:

Gail CooksonGAIL COOKSON, strategy partner, Watson Phillips Norman

Remember A Charity's distinctive approach in a sector where most calls to action are pretty similar is a breath of fresh air. Its message combats the three classic barriers to leaving a legacy: inertia, the perception that it's for the wealthy and the taboo about the 'D-word'.

With inertia, people don't get around to it (my daughter was 11 before my will recognised her existence). The "before it's too late" strapline illustrates this dramatically.

The notion that legacies are for rich people is overturned by Rocky Taylor, who comes over as the average Joe.

And using humour to address death plays on our tendency either to ignore it or joke about it.

On creatively raising its profile, it's stellar. And an uplift in people talking to their families and friends about legacy giving deserves full marks.

Score

Creativity: 4

Delivery: 5

9 OUT OF 10

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