Barnardo’s ad tells life story of abused boy

Barnardo’s is changing its marketing focus from brand recognition to boosting understanding of the services it provides children and young people.


The strategy shift begins with what the charity describes as a “landmark” ad campaign that tells a man’s life story in reverse.

The BBH created ad begins with Michael, a 30-year-old man, talking about his stable life with a job, girlfriend and baby. It then tracks back to his young “troubled” life to reveal he was abused as a child. It aims to show how Barnardo’s helped him overcome his problems at each age.

It uses the strapline “It doesn’t have to end like it began. Join us to fight for a child’s future”.

Barnardo’s marketing and business change manager Diana Tickell says despite having increased awareness of the charity in recent years through a series of hard-hitting ads, there is still a “challenge around comprehension” of the support and service it offers.

She adds: “People know the latent history and the nostalgia history of Barnardo’s so we’re trying to convince the public about what we deliver and what the charity has become. TV allows us to show and tell that in a way no other medium can.”

The TV ad is “a beacon for the big transformation message” she adds, but other channels will be used to “stretch beyond a three week TV burst.”

The 90-second ad airs for the first time on all Channel 4 stations tonight (3 November) at 8:15pm. Barnardo’s has also been running 10 second teaser ads ahead of the premier. It will also run 30 and 60-second versions of the ad over the next three weeks.

The charity will also use social media to generate engagement and around the issue of child abuse and online content to deliver more specific information about how Barnardo’s can help children at each life stage.

“Barnardo’s is a long copy story, so the TV ad is to hook people and get them interested in Michael’s story, and then we use other channels to tell the long copy version.”

To see some of the other work BBH have done this year, vist their Pitch profile here

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