The charity first launched its neglect appeal in October 2009 with a UK-wide programme of fundraising activity, integrated with advertising, PR, and marketing tactics, to raise awareness and understanding of neglect and the issues surrounding it, in turn to raise vital funds.
As a continuation and development of this activity, the charity is employing a range of new tactics to launch the second phase of the appeal.
The neglect suffered by a six year old girl named Emily is the focus of a national television advert that will air for the first time on Channel 4today, in the advertisement break that falls during The Secret Millionaire.
The animation, narrated by Emily herself, tells a story that will be familiar to up to 1.5 million children, as studies suggest that up to 10% of children in the UK actually experience neglect . Looking back at her childhood, Emily emotively talks about the neglect that she experienced, and the damaging psychological impact this had, growing up in a filthy house, with no meals at meal time and a bath just once a fortnight if she was lucky.
Laurence Sassoon, managing partner of Baby Creative, who created the advert, says: “We feel that using the visual idea of little people as a metaphor to show the invisibility of neglected children in the UK is a really innovative way to draw attention to the plight of children that Action For Children is there to support.”
In a bid to build up interest and intrigue ahead of the national television advert being launched, the charity used guerrilla marketing tactics for the first time.
Small, 3 foot, cardboard cut-outs of Emily, based on the creative featured in the advert, were strategically placed in key landmark areas that had a high footfall, yet were incongruous places to see children. A website signposted viewers to a website that gave viewers an exclusive preview of the television advert, provided further information on the problems of neglect, and also called on visitors to make a donation, and to sign a petition calling on government to wake up to neglect, in support of the appeal.
The charity has also engaged the public through social networking websites Facebook and Twitter, calling on people to post photos of Emily when they found her, further building up the momentum and interest around Emily in the lead up to the launch of the advert.
Polly Neate, Action for Children’s executive director of external relations and communications, says: “For this second phase of our neglect appeal it’s exciting to be using guerrilla marketing tactics – a first for Action for Children – and it’s great to see the public engage with us . With people posting pictures of Emily on social networking sites, our appeal is now truly interactive, with the public engaging directly with Emily’s story, wider issues of neglect, and Action for Children’s calls for change.”
“We’re delighted that people have already become so engaged with this next phase of the appeal, ahead of the airing of the national television advert. However, we are still in the very early days of a three year, integrated campaign to raise £17 million. We depend on public support to enable us to help children like Emily, and their families, to turn their lives around.”