What is it?
Launched on 1 September, the National Osteoporosis Society’s #laceupforbones campaign has been established to raise awareness of osteoporosis and encourage people to take some exercise that will keep their bones strong and healthy. With World Osteoporosis Day taking place on 20 October, the charity has pairs of orange laces for sale at £2, or £8.99 for a better quality pair. Supporters are being urged to buy the laces from the specially created Lace Up for Bones website or through the charity’s network of 60 volunteer support groups, and to share pictures of themselves wearing the laces in their sports shoes on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.
Supporters who share photos of themselves wearing the laces on the Lace Up for Bones website can win prizes such as days out, places at the charity’s challenge events or meetings with sports stars, with particularly unusual photos in line to be selected as "photo of the day". Sports teams such as Bath and the Exeter Chiefs rugby squads are being sent pairs of laces in the hope that they will also spread the word. On top of this, the charity has produced a short video showing people wearing its laces and getting active.
How successful has it been?
Lace Up for Bones received most of its publicity on Twitter during the first eight days of the campaign, with the hashtag #laceupforbones used in 563 tweets over that period. The Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, a patron of the charity, tweeted his support for the campaign, and Louise Thompson from Made in Chelsea posted about the campaign on Instagram, receiving more than 4,700 likes and helping to double the number of followers to the charity’s own Instagram account. The triathletes Natalie Lawrence, Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack also tweeted their support.
In eight days the charity sold more than 800 pairs of laces, raising about £2,000. It also attracted nearly 1,000 visits to the Lace up for Bones website within the first 12 hours after launching and generated a 50 per cent spike in visitors to the main NOS website. The #laceupforbones video was viewed 626 times and the charity’s Facebook page received nearly 6,000 more impressions than usual and 63 new likes in the 24 hours after the campaign launched. Press coverage has been limited, except in specialist titles, although the charity said it would be putting more effort into this in the coming weeks.
What the charity says
Sarah Wolf, head of communications at NOS, says: "Having spent some time evaluating and looking over the statistics of this campaign, we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved thus far; it’s particularly good for a small charity such as ourselves. We have events planned for World Osteoporosis Day in Bath, Nottingham and Portsmouth, so keeping up the momentum is under way. More celebrities are to be targeted and our own challenge participants for the London Marathon and the Royal Parks Half Marathon will also be brought on board as they take part in their events for us. It’s a great campaign and fully home-grown, conceived and implemented in-house."
Third Sector verdict
According to the Lace Up for Bones website, the charity has now sold 2,400 pairs of laces, which suggests that the momentum for this idea is continuing. Will sporty laces appeal to people who do not already have sporty lives? It’s impossible to tell at this stage, but it is to be hoped that the charity will measure this in order to determine the effectiveness of this campaign against the end goal of getting more people active and reducing their chances of developing osteoporosis. The charity might have missed a trick by not mentioning how osteoporosis works in its YouTube video (although this information can be found on the Lace up for Bones website), but it was a nice touch for it to get people wearing laces in orange – the colour of the charity’s logo.