Charities and Christmas television adverts

In 2016, figures confirmed that the charity sector was spending more on television advertising, which was up 6% in 2015/16 compared to the previous year. The Christmas period marks a “golden” opportunity for charities, as people get into the Christmas spirit they are more likely to donate.

Research by First Capital Cashflow discovered that 38% of people surveyed said that they were more likely to donate to a charitable cause in the run-up to Christmas, so it’s no wonder that this is a busy period for charities. Unfortunately for these charities, December is a busy period for everyone and the television, radio and pretty much every medium is saturated with companies demanding consumer attention to buy their products.

So how can charities be heard?

Charities face the challenge of getting their voice heard in the Christmas period and they cannot afford to not get involved. NfpSynergy, a consultant for charities and non-profits, found out that 60% of people said they heard more from charities last Christmas than they had before but 86% also said they couldn’t remember any specific charity adverts.

The idea that charities adopt too much of a “formulaic” approach to TV advertising is not a new one, as, with a saturated market, it is important to make yourself stand out from the crowd. All too often, however, when confronted with a stream of similarly emotional adverts people tend to “glaze over” according to Richard Hill, chief strategy officer at Atomic London, who developed a successful upbeat television campaign for WaterAid last year.

How successful are Christmas charity adverts?

It is difficult to judge the success of every charity Christmas advert, but what is easier to gauge is the success awarded to those charities that manage to get involved in the big retailers Christmas advertisements such as Aldi, Tesco, M&S and John Lewis. What has been dubbed as ‘the battle of the Christmas adverts’ has proven a great way in the past for charities to get themselves noticed and funded.

A good example of this is the John Lewis Christmas advert in 2015, The Man on the Moon, which teamed up with charity Age UK. As a direct result of the advert, thousands of people volunteered to help the elderly across a broad range of charities over the holiday season. Charity Independent Age saw a massive increase of 600% in enquiries, which shows how much of a difference good television advertising can make for charities.