Poppy Appeal: ‘Our challenge is to reinvent something that is very popular ever year’

The Royal British Legion is launching a ‘family-orientated’ campaign for the Poppy Appeal this year as it bids to reinvent the brand for its latest fundraising effort.

The ads, which will appear outdoors and in The Telegraph newspaper, are focused on families coming back together as the UK withdraws from Afghanistan. It features emotive images of an elderly veteran who fought in the Korean war, a young girl who lost her father in Afghanistan and a Royal Marine who lost his leg in Afghanistan.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Robert Lee, the associate director of marketing at the Royal British Legion, said the campaign marks a shift away from focusing on individuals to families, representing the generational range that the charity supports.

“Our challenge is to reinvent something that is very popular and well-known every year. This year we are family-orientated, highlighting the assistance that service men and their dependants need to transfer back to civvy street,” he added.

Alongside this, the Royal British Legion is planning its first marketing for London Poppy Day on 7 November, when it will try to raise £1m in one day. The charity says it will “flood the street” with armed forces personnel in uniform, particularly at train and tube stations. Plus it is planning ads in both The Metro and Evening Standard newspapers as it attempts to catch people on the way to and from work.

“We are trying to do justice to the London Poppy Day appeal and catch up with its momentum. We want to harness the enthusiasm of our servicemen for one day,” said Lee.

As in previous years, a range of brands will support the appeal, with Lee picking out the main supermarkets for particular attention. He said supermarket forecourts remain the most successful places for fundraising because they are sheltered, protected and people are not in a rush.

The Poppy Appeal is also planning further alternatives to the paper poppy, selling “enamelled and bejewelled” poppies in its Poppy Shop. However, the firm has no further plans for digital marketing, claiming that the appeal promotes itself online.

“The response online is off the charts. Why would we push a ball that is already rolling?” said Lee.

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