Barnardo’s: Be More Gladys’ lega­cy tele­vi­sion ad

Exhibited by
Gina Hollands
May 29, 2024
Medium of Communication
Television ad
Target Audience
Individuals, potential legators
Type of Charity
Supporting children
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
Date of first appearance
March 2023

SOFII’s view

Data released in May 2024 showed that the return on investment (ROI) for legacy marketing remains at around £15 for every £1 spent – making it a hugely important part of your fundraising mix.

UK children’s charity Barnardo’s hoped to attract new legators with their first-ever television legacy ad campaign, Be More Gladys. This ad took a fresh, bold approach that is helping them stand out in a crowded market and reach new audiences.


Barnardo’s delivers more than 800 services to children and young people across the UK.

Over the last few years (before creating the Be More Gladys ad) they had largely focused on rebuilding their legacy marketing programme. This involved a new strategy, proposition and supporter journeys, and concentrated on the charity’s warm donor base.

Once the programme was underway, they wanted to reach out to new, cold audiences on a mass scale, with the aim being not only to safeguard their future income, but to help grow it as well.

Summary / objectives

The fundraisers at Barnardo’s were hoping to:

  • create an advert that offered a future-focused view, without losing sight of the vital services Barnardo’s provides today
  • demonstrate to potential pledgers how they can offer long-term support to the communities the charity serves
  • clearly convey the breadth of the charity’s work
  • engage new, cold audiences by forging a connection with the viewer, regardless of whether they had a personal connection to Barnardo’s
  • increase internal awareness of legacy giving amongst colleagues and trustees through the project development process. The rationale here was to help create an improved supporter experience for all new pledgers.

Creator / originator

After a tender process, Barnardo’s appointed creative agency Don’t Panic to create the new advert.

‘We were impressed with their previous work, which included a legacy ad they created for WaterAid,’ says Sarah Dalling, Senior Legacy Marketing Manager at Barnardo’s. ‘Don't Panic also partnered with legacy giving consultancy Legacy Futures, which enabled us to have audience insight and specialist input from experts in the field.’

In the ad, the character Gladys is seen visiting a number of different children and families to offer them support and encouragement. In each case, her presence has a positive impact. By the end of the film, the viewer sees that Gladys was never physically there, this was all done through the support of Barnardo’s and a gift in her will.

The message to the potential donor is, that by including a gift to Barnardo’s in their will, they will be helping more children who are coping with variety of difficult circumstances.

The Be More Gladys television ad first aired in March 2023 and has run twice since across UK television channels ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.

You can watch the advert yourself here:


‘I believe we’ve created an ad that feels positive and hopeful, with children front and centre,’ says Sarah.

Barry Hunt, legacy fundraising lead at University College London made Be More Gladys his ‘top choice for a legacy campaign’ in The Legacy Showcase, saying:

‘It has an urban feel to it and at the same time manages to feel comfortable and familiar... with superb audience targeting. Barnardo’s don’t reveal their part until three quarters of the way through the ad. This puts Gladys, and the audience her character reflects, at the centre of the cause. This is not Gladys helping Barnardo’s to help the children; she herself is having a direct impact on the children’s lives, which is a really strong message...who wouldn’t want to be more like Gladys?’


Using Fastmap, Barnardo’s tested the campaign creative and people’s emotional response to it. The testing helped gauge how the ad made people feel as well as how it aided their comprehension surrounding legacies.

The ad received high scores in terms of legacy perceptions and emotional response. One area the feedback motivated Barnardo’s to look more carefully at in future is the call to action and ways to manage response online and offline.

Rather than having a narrow call to action, Barnardo’s wanted the Be More Gladys ad to drive awareness. Therefore, they used and continue to use (at time of writing, the ad is still airing) a brand tracker to measure awareness and intention.

In the October 2023 ad burst, a positive shift of 1.2 per cent for legacy intention was seen.

Plus, when measuring web traffic during the times when the ad was live, the charity was able to see increases in traffic of up to 810 per cent.

Final notes

If you’ve loved hearing about how this legacy ad was created, you can discover more by watching Barry Hunt’s video in The Legacy Showcase. You’ll also find even more inspirational legacy campaigns from charities around the world!

The showcase is brought to you by Legacy Futures, Remember A Charity and SOFII.

IMAGES: © All images courtesy of Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s are a UK-based charity that work to make sure children and young people feel safer, happier, healthier and more hopeful through specialist services, and campaigning to change the way the system works for the better.
Barnardo’s hoped to attract new legators with their first-ever television legacy ad campaign, Be More Gladys.
The Be More Gladys legacy television ad starts when Gladys wakes up in the morning. Then, as she goes about her day, it shows how Gladys is helping various children, all thanks to a gift in her will.
When kind donors like Gladys leave a gift in their will to Barnardo’s, they help to support young carers, improve children’s mental health, provide homes for young people leaving care and build stronger families through children’s centres.