Children in Need shifts marketing focus to boost participant numbers

Children in Need is to focus on “hero” fundraisers in the lead up to next month’s annual telethon as it looks to convert those that enjoy the occasion but do not participate in events to raise money.  

Children in Need 2013
Marketing will encourage people to participate in fundraising events such as wearing pyjamas.

Humorous TV trails will focus on fundraisers participating in simple and common activities to raise money. For example, a boy is seen walking though his school wearing his pyjamas, a popular fundraising activity among school children, while female peers look admiringly on.

The trails will be soundtracked by Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding out for a Hero” and the Welsh singer will appear in some of the clips.

Sarah Monteith, director of marketing and fundraising for BBC Children in Need, told Marketing Week the organisation wants to bridge the gap between the high levels of brand awareness it enjoys – 96 per cent recall, she claims – and the number of people participating.

“We want to get those people that think that fundraising looks fun but do not participate. The fun is a given but in order to get people to act then you need to have a call to action by presenting fundraising as heroic.”

In a further move to encourage a shift from awareness to participation, the charity is also taking a more prescriptive approach in its fundraising packs and other marketing literature. It will encourage people to participate in one or more of four popular activities – wearing pyjamas, baking, talent shows and an initiative called “bearfaced”, which sees women go without make-up and instead sport a sticker of brand mascot Pudsey’s paw on their face – rather than the “democratic” approach previously adopted, Monteith adds.

Marketing activity will also make people feel part of “a movement” she says. To this end, it will launch its first social media hub this year to host information about what ordinary fundraisers and celebrities are doing to raise money that has been posted on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Teaser trailers will launch tomorrow (5 October). The telethon takes place on 15 November.  

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