Case study: Spana

Did the charity's postal strike advert backfire? Our expert Steve Lynch gives his verdict

Spana campaign
Spana campaign

Campaign: Postal strikes

Agency: Bygraves Bushell Valladares and Sheldon, and in-house


Spana is a UK charity that aims to save the lives of working animals abroad. Many of the charity's supporters are over 60 and support the charity by posting cheques.

When the postal strikes began in late October, Spana was concerned this income stream would be badly affected. So it created the advert within 24 hours and placed it in the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph on the first two days of the strikes.

Why this approach?

"The last thing we needed was for our supporters to lose confidence in the way they sent their cheques to us," says Philippa Ireland, head of communications at the charity. "We wanted to tell people there were other ways of supporting us."

Ireland says the charity felt it had to take a strong line. "Our adverts are often tough, because we are trying to get a tough message across," she says. But she says the charity was not attempting to take a political stance on the postal strikes. "We didn't think, 'let's have a pop at the Post Office'," she says.

Simon Pope, director of communications at the charity, says: "It's a play on words. It has nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of the strike."


The campaign cost £7,150 and has so far generated £3,000 in donations and recruited 105 new supporters. But Ireland says the charity will recoup the full cost in lifetime value. "If these new supporters leave legacies to us, the charity will benefit enormously," she says. "We shouldn't take a short-term approach."

Kaye Wiggins


EXPERT VIEW, Steve Lynch, Head of creative, TW Cat

Spana's fantastic work with animals around the world is poorly served by this advert.

Its implication - that striking postmen are killing donkeys - is spurious. Alarmingly, the text below the image (not shown) discusses animals "weighed down by heavy loads, working from dawn to dusk".

Is this a genuine failure to see the parallel with posties, or is somebody taking the mickey? It makes support for Spana dependent on an entirely unrelated proposition: opposition to the postal strike.

There's no reason why charities shouldn't highlight how the strike affects their income, but by blatantly choosing sides in the dispute this advert crosses a line. The call to action, "help us to beat the strike", has no place in a fundraising advert.

Expert rating

Creativity 1

Delivery 1

2 out of 10

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