Bat­tersea Dogs and Cats Home: Leav­ing a gift in your will’ TV ad

Exhibited by
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
September 07, 2023
Medium of Communication
Television ad
Target Audience
Individuals/prospective legacy givers
Type of Charity
Animal rescue
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have grown their legacy income by over £15 million in eight years – and we’re certain that a lot of that success is thanks to smart legacy marketing like this ad. Since the television ad started airing in 2020 it has helped generate over 1,000 legacy information pack requests. But how did these fundraisers do it? And why did they want to show rescue animals in such a positive light? Keep reading to discover how this animal charity created a legacy television ad that’s proven its worth over the past three years and counting.

Summary / objectives

Battersea achieved a standout legacy campaign by defining a message that was upbeat and positive. The ad focused on life rather than end of life and it portrayed rescue animals as loving companions, rather than victims.

Creator / originator

For this ad, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home worked with creative agency FCB Inferno (now FCB London), with whom they’d collaborated on a previous television campaign. 


To raise awareness and tell the story of the work of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – and emotionally engage with the viewer in order to: 

  • increase legacy income 
  • grow the charity’s supporter file, including generating new legacy pledgers and enquirers 
  • strengthen brand awareness of the charity, which in turn could lead to increased legacy income 


Since investing heavily in legacy marketing from 2014, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has seen a consistent upward trajectory in gifts in wills. 

In 2019, the charity rebranded and launched a television ad campaign that aimed to reframe the image of rescue animals as helpless and sad. Instead, the campaign showed the animals as sassy, defiant and cheeky – even containing the phrase ‘I’m a rescue bitch’. This was an attention-grabbing way of using the term bitch, which of course, is another word for a female dog.

Around the same time, Battersea undertook some qualitative research work to gain a better understanding of what inspired people to leave a legacy gift to them. What they found was incredibly interesting. Their donors aligned themselves to rescue animals – the underdogs; outsiders who were survivors and looking for a place to belong.

These findings sparked the idea for their ‘Leaving a gift in your will’ ad, which would tell the story of animals who, despite a bad start in life, were characterful and had finally found their place. 

The research also revealed that supporters wanted the focus to be on the animals – not people writing wills. And so, the dogs and cats became the stars of the show.

You can view this fun, upbeat and inspiring gifts in wills television ad here: 


As you can see, this is a legacy television ad with a difference. Rather than simply focusing the objectives and results analysis on direct response, Battersea saw this as a brand-focused ad campaign with the added benefit of recruiting new legacy enquiries. 

Legacy and In Memory Fundraising Manager at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Michelle Adelman, said: 

‘We believe the main difference between direct response and brand response is about being able to cost-effectively recruit new legacy enquiries. We achieved this by moving away from the traditional metrics of cost per enquiry, and more towards shifting perceptions on legacies and raising awareness of the Battersea brand in general. We were empowered to do this once we understood our donors’ motivations better.’


At the time of writing, this campaign is still featuring on television – meaning traditional direct response metrics continue to be tracked. Some of the results so far include:

  • The most recent burst of the ad (spring 2023) delivered the lowest cost per enquiry since the campaign launched in autumn 2020.
  • The first five bursts of television activity drove 6,805 visits to the legacy page on the Battersea website.
  • Since the campaign began, it has generated 1,003 legacy information pack requests. 
  • Battersea also run quarterly brand-focused surveys to assess attitude shifts. The volume of people who said they would consider leaving a gift to Battersea in their will rose from nine per cent (after the initial campaign burst) to 15 per cent (at the most recent campaign burst).
  • 28 per cent of people questioned said they recalled seeing the television ad, after the first burst in 2020. By burst four this had risen to 44 per cent. 

Other relevant information

The ad was filmed at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in Southwest London, and in Battersea Park, during lockdown. This presented its own set of challenges when it came to social distancing measures.

Influence / impact

Battersea only began investing more heavily in legacy marketing in 2014 – which, by their own admission, was a lot later than many of their charity peers. Back then the charity’s total legacy income was £9.7 million. By 2022 it had grown to £24.8 million – a statistic that really shows the impact of legacy marketing on fundraising results. 

Final notes

If you’ve loved hearing about how this legacy ad was created, you can check out more expert analysis on it here, in The Legacy Showcase.

Click to enter the showcase then scroll down and you’ll find a short two-and-a-half-minute presentation by Legacy Voice’s Gifts in Wills Consultant, Lucy Lowthian, explaining why she admires this campaign. 

Then, keep browsing to see 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 Battersea Dogs and Cats Home  

Crystal was one of the adorable cats featured in this legacy campaign.
The positive language throughout the campaign fit perfectly with the upbeat music and imagery of rescue animals living their best lives.
The charity and their agency filmed in both Battersea Park and the charity’s iconic centre in Southwest London.