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Advertising Q and A for students

  1. What do you hope to gain through your advertising?
  2. How has your advertising evolved over the years?
  3. Why did you launch a new ad campaign?
  4. Why did you focus on the 'believe in me' theme?
  5. What returns are you hoping the campaign will deliver?
  6. Is the advert based on real stories?
  7. The Believe in Me advert really tugs at the heart strings. Why have you chosen such an emotional capmaign?
  8. How can I help / support the campaign?
  9. How does this campaign support your fundraising?
  10. Who creates your adverts?
  11. How is the BME community represented within your plan and campaign?
  12. How is the LGBT community represented within your campaign?
  13. Who is Barnardo's target audience?
  14. Do your adverts feature children that Barnardo's support?
  15. Why do you spend money on advertising and not invest that money into directly helping children?
  16. Why do you choose to advertise on TV and how do you decide which TV channel/programmes to advertise on?
  17. When working with an avdertising agency, what is involved in the strategic process in order to reach the final product?
  18. What do you say to people who argue that Barnardo's advertising campaigns can be too shocking?
  19. Are there concerns that these advertisements may have the reverse effect and discourage consumers to become donors?
  20. Are you not worried that your advertising campaigns may distress those who have been involved in similar situations?

1. What do you hope to gain through your advertising?

The main objective of our advertising is to establish and build brand awareness in the public domain, drive the public’s affinity with our brand, and to strengthen our case for public support.


2. How has your advertising evolved over the years?

In the 1990s our press advertising campaigns used visually shocking metaphors to draw attention to the issues facing vulnerable children and young people, and our work to counter this. These campaigns enabled us to successfully raise awareness of Barnardo’s and we received a great deal of valuable PR coverage.

Our first TV campaign Break the Cycle (2008) raised awareness of Barnardo's and our work and why we do it. As our strapline suggests, it is because we “Believe in children”. We wanted to show how many children are caught up in the cycle of deprivation and how our work can break this cycle. During the campaign we received a lot of PR coverage and our spontaneous awareness increased, but we found that not everyone understood our role in the story of the girl in the advert.

We realised then how important it was to make clear our role in helping children in our advertising,  this led to the production of our Turn Around campaign (2009-2011), Life Story (2011-2013) and Support the Unsupported (2014). These adverts clearly illustrates our role and shows how Barnardo's makes a difference to children and helps turn their lives around.

We believe a child’s future should never be defined by their past. Whoever they are, and whatever their circumstances, we believe in them. But our belief is not enough. We need the public to show their belief in the UK’s most vulnerable children too. This was the foundation of our most recent campaign Believe in Me (2016). We wanted to show the transformative effect that believing in children has on their lives and their ability to achieve. We’re also giving the children we support their own voice, letting them show people why our work is so important. The campaign initially launched across TV, press, cinema and digital with ongoing TV and digital activity. The more optimistic tone of the campaign received positive feedback from the public.

The aim of all of our advertising is to appeal to our target audience and be perceived as a deserving charity. As people gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do, they are more likely to support our work.


3. Why did you launch a new ad campaign?

In 2016 we launched an ambitious new ten-year plan, which aims to transform the lives of millions more vulnerable children and families. But we can’t achieve our goals without support and donations from the public.

The launch of the Believe in Me campaign was just the start of this ten-year programme to address some of the most complex issues in our society and help the most vulnerable young people and their families. We hope that by raising awareness of the important work we do, we will strengthen the case for public support and in turn be able to increase our services and support for vulnerable children. Over the next ten years we will continue to speak up for children and show that, with our support, they can fulfil their potential and overcome the adversity and challenges they face.


4. Why did you focus on the 'believe in me' theme?

We believe a child’s future should never be defined by their past. Whoever they are, and whatever their circumstances, we believe in them. But our belief is not enough. We need the public to show their belief in the UK’s most vulnerable children too - and when a child asks the public directly to ‘believe in me’ it’s incredibly powerful and allows for the child’s personal story to be told. We show that incredible things happen when you believe in children, and we all have the power to make a difference. This is why we chose the Believe in Me campaign theme.


5. What returns are you hoping the campaign with deliver?

We have thought extremely carefully about the best way of increasing public awareness and donations to support our ten-year plan. After a thorough process and analysis, we have devised an advertising campaign that will ensure our critical message is heard loud and clear – and encourage more members of the public to support our cause as a result.

The launch of the Believe in Me campaign is just the start of a ten-year programme to address some of the most complex issues in our society and help the most vulnerable young people and their families. This is more than a one-off campaign – it’s a movement that shows incredible things happen when you believe in children.


6. Is the advert based on real stories?

Yes. The children we support do not appear in the advert, but the stories you see are based on the real-life experiences of some of the children we have worked with.


7. The Believe in Me advert really tugs at the heart strings. Why have you chosen such an emotional campaign?

The emotions that come across in the advert reflect the lived experience of the children Barnardo’s supports. It’s impossible for adults to fully comprehend children’s emotions but, in trying to portray this, we want adults to realise how important Barnardo’s work is and how valuable their support is.


8. How can I help / support the campaign?

We are always looking for donations to go towards the work we do with children around the UK. To donate, visit our campaign hub at believeinme.barnardos.org.uk/donate.


9. How does this campaign support your fundraising?

The campaign aims to raise awareness of our work and increase public fundraising – so we can increase our services and support for vulnerable children.


10. Who creates your adverts?

Our latest adverts were created by advertising agency FCB Inferno. The adverts were produced by Sarah Dunlop at the production company Rattling Stick.


11. How is the BME community represented within your campaign?

The children in our TV ads are representative of multi-cultural Britain and the children we support.

Barnardo's is committed to providing equality of opportunity for the children, young people, families and carers with whom we work. We value and respect their diversity. We believe in children – whatever their race, gender, religious beliefs, background, circumstances or disability.


12. How is the LGBT community represented within your campaign?

In our advertising we include the line, I am proud, which was developed with the LGBT community in mind.


13. Who is Barnardo's target audience?

Barnardo's has an incredibly diverse range of target groups both within and outside the organisation, e.g. staff, volunteers and donors. The primary target audience for our advertising campaign are those members of the general public who are most likely to donate to children’s charities.

Certain areas of our work will focus on different target groups. For example, our family placement communications mainly target local authorities, who fund our services, and potential adoptive and foster carers. TV advertising campaigns, however, target a wider national audience to raise awareness and strengthen public support.

Our TV advertising specifically targets people between the ages of 25 and 70 who have children or young grandchildren. We know through research that this group have higher levels of disposable incomes and are more likely to want to support our work.

We have analysed our audience to ensure that our message is relevant to them, and will feature in media that will reach them when they are at their most receptive.

Barnardo's works with a number of research agencies to find out what the general population, and our target audience, know and feel about charities, Barnardo's and our work. They conduct quarterly research on our behalf, as well as pre and post-campaign research to measure people’s awareness of Barnardo’s and our work as well as how many people claim to have seen the advert, and how the advert affected their perception of Barnardo's.


14. Do your adverts feature children that Barnardo's supports?

The safety of the children we work with always comes before anything else. There are certain areas of our work that will usually be represented by models or actors, for example child sexual exploitation.

The children we worked with in our most recent advert are not professional actors – the casting processes involved visiting dance schools, sports clubs etc. across the country to find the talented young people who appear in the ads. Each child was made fully aware of what they were representing and each felt excited and proud to be involved with such great cause and helping children less fortunate.


15. Why do you spend money on avdertising and not invest that money into directly helping children?

We always try to spend our money as responsibly and effectively as possible, and as a charity we are offered favourable rates on the production costs for the advertising.

The money spent on advertising helps push us to the front of people’s minds and increases their sense of our deservedness as a charity. A strong brand presence is critical to our ability to drive support with members of the public, corporate partners and commissioners which enables us to continue our vital work with children and young people.

The money spent on advertising has not affected the fact that 91p in every pound* donated to Barnardo’s still goes directly to the children and young people we work with.

* Excluding trading and property development costs.


16. Why do you choose to advertise on TV and how do you decide which TV channel/programmes to advertise on?

We work with a media buying agency, John Ayling and Associates, which helps us buy media space in the most cost-effective way, whilst helping us reach our brand objectives.

Our advertising appears on channels and between programmes that appeal to our primary target audience. These have been selected based on both viewing figures and core audience.


17. When working with an advertising agency, what is involved in the strategic process in order to reach the final product?

When working on a new project, we begin by briefing the advertising agency with our brand objectives and what we’re trying to achieve. The agency comes back to us with questions about our brief and we discuss further details, such as budget and timescales. We then work with them to agree on a strategy, for example, whether to use existing or new creative, and whether to use TV advertising or other mediums, such as PR, online, internal teams and/or integrating activity. The agency will then pitch the creative ideas to us and we choose the one we feel will be most effective. Throughout the whole process we work closely with them and decide together on all stages including script, sourcing a director and casting.

As the advert is being created, we also work with our media buying agency, John Aylings and Associates, and agree on channels, programming, and timings. Once everything has been agreed on by both the advertising agency and our media buying agency, and we are happy with the creative, the TV advert airs.


18. What do you say to people who argue that Barnardo’s advertising campaigns can be too shocking?

Although elements of our advertising may be seen as disturbing, in no way is it intended to cause offence or distress, and unfortunately, for many of the children and young people we work with these are everyday occurrences. While we realise that this is hard to see, we feel it is important to reflect the true experiences of our service users, so that people understand that this is the reality for many children in the UK. We need to raise awareness of this, to prevent this happening to more children and young people. With our recent campaigns we have tried to balance upsetting situations with positive scenes and messages to portray that incredible things can happen when you believe in children and that intervention through organisations such as Barnardo’s, things can change.


19. Are there concerns that these advertisements may have had the reverse effect and discouraged consumers to become donors?

Possibly, but this is very difficult to measure. For our latest campaign, whilst we did receive some complaints, the vast majority of feedback was positive.

During our campaigns we see increased visits to our website as well as increased engagement with content we publish in various places, such as our campaign microsite and social media channels. This shows that people have been prompted by our adverts to find out more about who we are and how we transform the lives of many children and young people in the UK.


20. Are you not worried that your advertising campaigns may distress those who have been involved in similar situations?

The last thing we want is to upset vulnerable children or adults who have been reminded of a personal trauma. We recognise that our advertising can be hard-hitting, but in no way is it intended to cause offence or distress. In our most recent campaign we have tried to balance upsetting situations with positive scenes and messages to portray that incredible things can happen when you believe in children. It received a positive response on social media from those who said they had been affected some of the issues portrayed.

We want people to recognise that with intervention through organisations such as Barnardo’s, children’s lives can be transformed. Only by doing this will we achieve the public support that will enable us to continue our work, prevent abuse and support those it does affect.

We are always responsible in seeking advice about how to deal with anyone who gets in touch, and have compiled a list of organisations that can support people through these issues. These are:


OrganisationContact details
Barnardo’sSearch our services to see the range of services to children, young people and families across the UK.
NAPAC (National Association of People Abused in Childhood)0800 085 3330
ChildLine0800 11 11
Samaritans0845 790 9090