• Sean Stephens

Every New Story Brings a New Audience…

Three years ago, Save the Children asked us to help develop new audiences through a channel that had been highly successful for them: DRTV.

However, it was a channel that had become hidebound by its own success. Their DRTV executions had become largely restricted to one specific area of the charity’s work: the relief of malnutrition.

They were not alone in this problem. In fact, until recently, it seemed most development charities struggled to raise money through DRTV if they strayed from the emotive subject of child starvation. The only exception to this rule, were the ‘emergency appeals’ that accompanied well-publicised disasters.

Uncovering an appetite for authenticity

In the first instance, our task was to develop a new style of DRTV ad, which the charity could rotate with its existing executions. The resulting ad, about a malnourished child called Kayembe proved that a more journalistic and authentic approach to story-telling could still deliver high response. However, we had yet to demonstrate that there was an appetite for new and different stories to be told.

To discover the potential for new stories, we first worked alongside the client to identify the strengths of different areas of their work. Next, we developed a number of new propositions. Finally, we took them into research.

There, we discovered that there was indeed a desire for more informative stories that better demonstrated the range of work undertaken by Save the Children. One subject area that resonated strongly with our younger, socially conscious audience was the plight of vulnerable street children.

Establishing a new DRTV paradigm

We went to work, employing a documentary style and approach that had been so successful for our ‘Kayembe’ ad across DRTV, door drops, inserts and digital. New photography and emotive copy told a powerful story of street children in Bangladesh, who are at risk of being trafficked or abused every day of their young lives.

The strategy paid off. Early results show that ‘Bedrooms’, our new campaign, is matching performance of established malnutrition executions, attracting a new profile of donors and aligning with brand. It is now being adapted for use in other global markets.