WORKSHOP: Case Study - Action on Addiction looks to the stars


Background: Action on Addiction undertakes research into the causes of substance abuse and has been instrumental in the setting up of the National Addiction Centre.

Addiction is responsible for more than 150,000 deaths every year in the UK and is the country's biggest preventable killer. The charity believes that more young people are taking up drinking, smoking and drugs than ever before.

The charity first came up with an Angels Ball to rebrand its existing large fundraising event and decided to extend the campaign into a health awareness initiative to engage a younger audience.

Aims The objective of the first Angels Against Addiction campaign was to highlight the scale and dangers of addiction in the UK.

The charity also wanted to use the initiative to recruit more donors with the aim of funding research to help prevent and treat substance addiction more effectively. In order to do this, the charity targeted its own donor base and recruited them as "Angels".

The angelic theme was also used in the fundraising and promotional campaign.

"We wanted to inspire donors and supporters to focus on the 'helping people' side of our work by showing them how they could support it, both in their own lives and by directly giving to the charity," says Gayle Wing, PR assistant at Action on Addiction.

How it worked The charity recruited models Laura Bailey and Jemma Kidd to pose for a photo shoot wearing Angels Against Addiction T-shirts.

The pictures were sent to the regional and national press, and the broadcast media at the end of September. The images were also accompanied by a news story with hard-hitting statistics about addiction.

The next day weathergirl Sian Lloyd, a supporter of the campaign, appeared at the Liberal Democrat conference wearing an Angels Against Addiction T-shirt. Pictures of her then appeared in the national press.

The charity placed some features about the campaign in magazines Woman and Home, Women's Health and Snug. It also secured OK! as a celebrity magazine media partner for the Angels Ball held in November. The angel-themed event at Old Billingsgate Market in London raised £200,000.

OK! helped to promote the event and also ran a double-page feature on the charity's work.

The public was also asked to support the initiative by buying an Angels Against Addiction T-shirt directly from the charity or a Mulberry Angels key ring from the luxury retailer's shops. It also sent out an Angels brochure to its supporter database to recruit donors through a "heavenly hierarchy" tiered system of giving.

Results The campaign, which ran from September 2002 to January 2003, had a reach of 25 million people based on the circulation of the media it appeared in. It also generated 144 pieces of coverage in the press, and broadcast media, exceeding the charity's expectations.

As a fundraising initiative, the campaign raised more than £300,000 in three months. The charity received feedback from supporters in the form of telephone and email enquiries.

Based on the success of this first awareness campaign, the charity is to launch Sport Against Addiction later this year.

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