St Dunstan’s: help blind heroes inter­ac­tive acqui­si­tion campaign.

Exhibited by
St Dunstan’s
May 13, 2012
Medium of Communication
Direct mail, online
Target Audience
Individuals, planned gift
Type of Charity
Public/society benefit
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
November, 2010

SOFII’s view

This is an excellent example of a powerful campaign that has just been launched in the UK. By combining a commanding and touching story with an interactive grit 'reaction test', they have managed to design a campaign that will both move and interest people. And those people are therefore more likely to become donors.

TDA, direct-to-digital marketing.

Name of exhibitor

St Dunstan's.

St Dunstan's wants to raise awareness of their work with blind ex-service men and women and to recruit new donors. The campaign aims to appeal not only to typical charity supporters, including those who have an affinity with the military, but also to new and younger audiences. In addition, they want to encourage current donors to increase their support to the charity. St Dunstan's also wants to highlight just how many seriously injured troops return from current conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan.


St Dunstan's provides rehabilitation for blind ex-service men and women, some of whom were blinded whilst on active duty. Many, however, will have lost their sight in old age. This campaign focuses on Andy Allen, a young soldier who was horrifically injured by a roadside bomb in Helmand, Afghanistan. Andy sustained terrible burns to his face, which resulted in him losing most of his sight. He also lost both of his legs as a result of the explosion. St Dunstan's was one of the first charities to offer support to Andy. This ranged from putting him in touch with a welfare officer in the first instance, to providing him with a specially adapted mobile phone and an adapted laptop computer to help him communicate with his friends and family. The charity has also funded some work to his house and will continue to support him in the future.

This campaign consists of direct response TV advertising (DRTV), cold and warm direct mail, and online activity, including the use of social media.

Special characteristics

Andy's story has given the charity a unique opportunity – the DRTV includes very powerful footage from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that captures the moment he was injured. As the footage of Andy Allen is so dramatic, it's allowed St Dunstan's and TDA to explore how they could use his story through social media to fully maximise the reach and impact of the campaign. We are confident that the emotional nature of this appeal will resonate with potential donors.

Both the direct mail communications and the DRTV ad direct people to a bespoke website. Much effort has also been made to publicise the messages of the campaign in a variety of social media.

The campaign encourages people to take a grit 'reaction test'. This highlights one of the difficulties soldiers face in an explosion, where grit travels faster than the ability to blink. Henry Cleminson, European kickboxing champion, and a former special forces officer, 'SAS Dave', have already been filmed taking the test and are challenging others to beat them. The grit 'reaction test' also provides the opportunity to reach new audiences and to go viral. Messages are also being left via Facebook with people who tend to require quick reactions – e.g. boxers, sportspeople, martial artists – encouraging them to try the test (and to beat those who have already taken it).


Results will be displayed on SOFII in the future.


This campaign tells a very powerful and emotive story. St Dunstan's and TDA have been able to communicate Andy's journey, from the moment he was injured, through his rehabilitation, to where he is now. By telling this story through a number of different channels, St Dunstan's will be able to raise awareness and attract new donors.

The campaign encouraged people to take an online grit ‘reaction test’. This highlights one of the difficulties soldiers face in an explosion, where grit travels faster than the ability to blink.
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The campaign used DRTV, cold and warm direct mail and interactive online activity to reach people.