The right to play

Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Three weeks ago we were at Unicef. It was a day after Open had trialled working from home. It seems like a year ago. We talked about whether schools would close and whether there would be a lockdown. What this would mean for children?
 
We talked about what life would be like in ‘lockdown’ Britain and what Unicef could do to help children and their families. 
 
Over the next couple of days our teams talked and came up with some great ideas. Many of them were linked to offering free screen time content, because that is what we thought would be needed…
 
At this time a very good decision was made. WaitDon’t React. Respond.
 
Then the UK went into lockdown and life changed for us all. 
 
Attention turned to our families, neighbours and friends. Those close to us who need our care and support, those who we have never met ‘locked in’ – frightened and alone, and those who are putting their lives at risk everyday keeping the NHS, emergency services and our infrastructure going.
 
At Open we got busy developing emergency appeals for charities and the NHS whose frontline services were struggling to keep up with demand, and Unicef moved swiftly into their rapid response protocols. 
 
Meanwhile a very small team of Unicef and Open staff continued to think about an offer for young children and their families. Unicef sent out a short survey asking parents about their first few days of lockdown.  
 
And this is what they told us. 
 
“We don’t need more screen content. We certainly don’t need more educational resources and activities. We don’t all have screens, we don’t all have bandwidth that can handle everyone on line. We need ideas that kids can do away from screens, that are fun and quick to organise. That gives them time to relax and play and us time to get on with life and work.” 
 
And Unicef responded.
 
“Don’t worry, this is on us. Everyday, all round the world we help children in crisis, often without screens or internet. This is what we do. We make sure that children have the space, the resources and the right to play. We have great activities that we will send to you. We are here for children in crisis”.
 
 
Yesterday they were joined by friends at The Kite Factory to do a very rapid sprint that brought that idea to life. And today it goes live.
 
Not bad for a couple of weeks in lockdown…. 

How to Fundraise in an Emergency

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

When we think of emergency appeals, we generally think of overseas. But whether it’s due to an increased demand on services, cancelled events or an economic squeeze, UK charities are quickly going to find themselves in a position where they need to take a leaf out of the humanitarian sector’s book. 

Our hypothesis is that right now in the UK there are a lot of people who have a powerful feeling that they want to do something to help. And it’s evident that there are a lot of people who need help. 

Our job is therefore to connect the two.

To assist you in that process, we’ve put together a quick guide to effective emergency fundraising that we hope you find useful. It’s based on over a decade’s experience as lead agency with clients including the DEC, Unicef, Concern Worldwide, ActionAid, Christian Aid and others. 

You’ll probably have more ideas and we’d love to hear them. And if you need any help, please get in touch. We’ve got a whole bunch of smart, skilled people who do this stuff for a living and are ready to get cracking.

Stay safe everyone.  


Campaign Planning IRL

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Late last year, the NSPCC asked us to pitch for an irresistible job – a through the line, fully integrated, highly responsive campaign to help reposition them in the hearts and minds of the public. 

Not such a tall order, we thought, given that they pretty much invented this stuff. Twenty years after Full Stop launched, it’s still displayed on the altar of campaign success to be gazed upon with awe and envy.

But we knew right away we couldn’t just do the same thing again. We needed a campaign with relevance for a new generation of parents who are raising kids in a changed world of smartphones and social media. 

Thankfully, when Childhood changed,  the NSPCC changed too. 74% of Childline counselling services now take place online rather than over the phone. We quickly realised this was the story we needed to tell, and we were delighted to be appointed by NSPCC to tell it.

Thus was born KIDS_IRL. If you’ve not seen it, take a look at the response film.

At the heart of the creative is the idea that what we see online isn’t always the full story. Behind the emojis and filters, too many children are still suffering. And some of them are taking their own lives, in real life. In fact, the NSPCC speaks to 60 children every day who are having suicidal thoughts and feelings. 

We had an important, relevant story to tell – but we still needed to know where to tell it, and who to tell it to. Working closely with NSPCC’s brand, press and fundraising teams, we developed a campaign strategy and plan and a full audience persona. All our insight told us that this audience want choice in how to help, so we created a campaign with a range of ways to engage. You can give today, give each month, you can badge yourself or simply find out more. 

So much of what makes integrated campaigns work goes on behind the scenes – engaging with senior stakeholders, the rapid turnaround of new creative, the detail of journey planning and the agile project management that holds it all together. 

It’s the ultimate project for collaboration.  It’s not enough to integrate your media. A team who know and trust each other is essential to success. The NSPCC team have been a dream to work with. Quick, flexible, consistent, the best kind of challenging and ready to be bold. 

I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved together. An insight-led campaign with creative cut through. An honest telling of the story of childhood in 2020.

Amy Hutchings

Strategy Director