Press advertising, off-the-page and inserts

Though it has declined in importance for fundraisers in recent years there are many markets where there’s impressive potential for press advertising to make a significant comeback. This section features some of the most effective press advertising of all time, from the great Amnesty and Oxfam ads of yesteryear to today’s stunning ads for Bhopal.

African National Congress: the emergency pre-election fundraising, from 1992

Mendi Msmimang meets Nelson Mandela in London in 1990.

by SOFII

The ANC campaign that pioneered professional political fundraising in the UK and offered the British public the chance to play an active role in getting rid of apartheid forever.The campaign raised £2 million in six months with no budget and just one paid member of staff.

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ActionAid: the welcome to child sponsorship package

Sponsorship brochure.

by SOFII

ActionAid’s child sponsorship programme has been running in the UK for over 35 years. In 2008, they revisited the enquirer and welcome packs with the intention of making the materials the best that could be found anywhere.

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ActionAid: the ‘postal parent’ advert

press ads

by SOFII

These two black and white ads look dated now, and the first of these at least seems patronising too. But when these ‘postal parent’ advertisements appeared in the UK in the mid 1970s they were state-of-the art, the epitome of direct response fundraising.

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WWF Canada’s press advertising, or... ‘you didn’t really approve this, did you?’

The belugas ad.

by SOFII

In the early 80s, one way WWF Canada had built its database of donors was by asking magazines to run full page black and white ads featuring endangered species. Readers were encouraged to cut out a coupon, fill it in and send it back with a contribution.

In a creative meeting with the agency who had produced the first three ads, which had been very successful, WWF decided to change the format. In a moment of inspiration, they put the cut-out ad in the middle of the page.

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Amnesty International: throw-away insert campaign

Insert

by SOFII

Amnesty International’s fundraising is rarely other than enterprising, inspirational and effective and this insert doesn’t fail to live up to expectations. Here, Amnesty International used people’s contrary instincts about the medium to their benefit by creating an insert with a warning not to open it.

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RNLI: ‘stand behind these men’ press ad

Just days later, the newspapers were headlining a very different story.

by SOFII

The message is simple and direct – it tells who the RNLI is, what it does, and gets straight to the point by asking what the reader will contribute. It also uses a photograph of a crew member at the top of the page – a tradition that continues today.

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RSPCA’s pile of dead dogs advertisement

RSPCA Pile of dogs ad

by SOFII

Some time around the turn of the 1980s Britain’s leading animal welfare charity, the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), produced a striking and controversial poster that positioned it as a campaigning organisation too.

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RCSB: Bhopal emergency appeal

by SOFII

Created in less than two hours, this ad went on to raise more than 20 times its total costs in just a few days, to become a classic example of disaster appeal advertising. More than £420,000 was raised and most of it directly attributable to the press advertisements.

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Bhopal Medical Appeal: B’Eau Pal publicity stunt: don’t go near the water!

Montage

by SOFII

Don’t go near the water: 25 years after the world’s worst ever man-made disaster, B’EauPal shows that effective political campaigning takes ’bottle’ (a commonly used London term for courageous risk-taking). This is a classic opportunistic protest in a good cause.

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ActionAid: the inserts with built-in reply mechanism

by SOFII

This promotion raised £millions and won almost every direct marketing award going. It also helped propel a new and little known organisation called ActionAid into the list of Britain's top 20 charities. Action Aid created a new format, which was then copied by dozens, perhaps hundreds of other organisations.

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