WORKSHOP: Case Study - Help the Aged shows age is no barrier

ANNIE KELLY

Project Help the Aged 'Scrap It!' campaign

Agency Navig8

Background Help the Aged wanted to launch a national campaign to support its report on age discrimination in public policy. The findings of the study were released to coincide with the Government's final month of consultation on its plans to outlaw discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion.

The age-discrimination programme is the largest campaign the charity has run, and is being funded by donor British Gas.

Aim of the campaign The main objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of the existence of direct and indirect age discrimination. With no fundraising component, the project was designed to influence government legislation so that age discrimination is outlawed in all areas, including goods and services as well as employment.

How it worked Design agency Navig8 wanted to create a campaign that clearly illustrated the way that old people were made to feel worthless by society.

The agency was asked to create an image that applied to all sectors and that reflected the campaign's objective. A picture showing old people sat in a heap of junk metal and refuse was used on promotional material with the strap line "When Will Society Decide You're On The Scrapheap?"

Nikki Hill, head of communications at Help the Aged, said: "We asked Navig8 to come up with a thought-provoking and challenging image that would spearhead the campaign. The image of older people on a rubbish dump reflects the way in which age discrimination consigns older people to the scrapheap and, at the same time, graphically illustrates the waste of talent, expertise and resources."

Help the Aged has also supported the campaign with a microsite on its web site to keep supporters up-to-date with developments in the programme and the results of a nationwide age-discrimination survey.

The organisation has not spent advertising, but relied on PR and editorial coverage following a media launch at the charity's headquarters on 6 March.

The launch included the unveiling of a 50ft banner on the front of the building and members of the Islington Pensioner's Forum being photographed in a skip brandishing Help the Aged placards.

Results Editorial coverage for the campaign ran in many of the national newspapers, including The Times, Financial Times and The Guardian. Broadcast coverage also appeared on BBC's Breakfast and One O' Clock news, GMTV and Sky News, while web site traffic on the day of the launch also went up 73 per cent. The charity has also secured the support of more than 400 local groups.

The Scrap It! campaign will run for the next three years and Help the Aged hopes to influence the second round of Government consultation on age discrimination in employment in Autumn 2002.

The campaign will also continue to lobby for the legislation on age diversity required by European Equal Treatment Directive for 2006 to be brought forward.

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