The Har­ry Sec­ombe soft sell lega­cy approach

Written by
Ken Burnett
April 08, 2010

This campaign dates back to the late 1980s and was created by Burnett Associates Limited with Dennis Kingshot at the NSPCC. The campaign was fronted by the ever-popular, much loved comedian and singer Harry Secombe, one of the famous ‘Goons’ from the 1950s radio shows. These ads offered respondents a free copy of a simple, plain-talking, helpful booklet calledCaring for their Future , a guide designed to help anyone and everyone to make or change their will. Readers of newspapers and magazines where these ads appeared flocked in their thousands to get their copy, and no doubt many wills were made or changed as a result. The logic was that if more people made wills, more good causes would benefit and the cause most likely to be front of mind would be the helpful charity that had provided the useful information to do the deed. The approach may have been soft sell, but the promotion of the NSPCC wasn't exactly subtle. To understand how well it worked, or otherwise, you would need to analyse the NSPCC's will notifications, probably over a few decades. An interesting experiment. If we can locate the booklet or any parts of it we'll expand this exhibit in days to come.

About the author: Ken Burnett

Ken Burnett

Ken Burnett is author of Relationship Fundraising and other books including The Zen of Fundraising, (Jossey-Bass Inc, San Francisco, USA). The Tiny Essentials of an Effective Volunteer Board and Storytelling can change the world, both published by The White Lion Press, UK

In 2021, he wrote and published a book about campaigning fundraising, The essence of Campaigning Fundraising in 52 exhibits and 199 web links.

Ken co-founded SOFII with his late wife Marie and served as a trustee before retiring from the SOFII board in 2022.

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