The RSPB is making a tentative return to DRTV fundraising with its first ad campaign for five years.
The one-minute ad, first broadcast last week, is a deliberately low-key comeback. Part-filmed in a member of staff's back garden, it is only being screened during late night intervals on Channel 4 and satellite TV. But if successful, it will lead to a full-blown DRTV campaign in the New Year.
Sam O'Sullivan, the charity's head of individual giving, explained the ad's modest recruitment target of 1,000 belied a far greater strategic purpose.
"It is a first for us in many ways: first TV ad for five years, first paperless direct debit, a new agency,
she said. "If it doesn't work fantastically well we will have to look at all these elements and consider how we can change things. If it works well we will do something much bigger.
"Five years is a long break and marketing has changed dramatically in that time. One of the reasons we came off TV was because it had become uneconomical but the introduction of paperless direct debit persuaded us it was the right time to try again."
The ad uses loss of colour and sound to represent how birds and their songs are disappearing from the countryside. "It is quite difficult to represent loss visually,
said O'Sullivan. "We have tried to make an emotional connection by the loss of sound and colour."
As the colour and bird sounds fade, a voiceover urges viewers to support the RSPB. "In the past our DRTV ads have focussed on the benefits of membership. What we have tried to do this time is talk about the work of the RSPB,
This is the first work done by direct marketing agency Clark McKay & Walpole since it won the RSPB account four months ago.