Monday, 29 November 2010

Sell, sell, sell, sell, sell

When working with charities, it's sometimes too easy to get caught up in the fact that we're helping so many people all over the world. Whenever I tell people what I do, it's often followed by, "saving the world".

"I'm a designer. I work with charities. Y'know, saving the world."

Which is true, I guess, to a certain degree. But what we (I) often forget we're doing is actually selling. Ok, we're not selling climate-changing cars or fast food to children – our selling is a lot more wholesome – but we are certainly selling ideals, and beliefs and the opportunity for people to feel good about themselves.

Now, although what we're selling is different, the way we do it needn't be. Not that a child sponsorship ad will look similar to a washing machine ad necessarily, but there's certainly key areas of overlap.

The image at the top of this post is an ad by Ogilvy and Mather, from I don't know when – certainly before I was born – but so much of it still rings true for creating an ad that WORKS. An ad that SELLS. Click on it and have a read. None of it is shocking or scary or new, but it's good to remind ourselves of what works sometimes!

I'm now going to go and write some 10-word headlines showing the product benefit and containing the brand name set against some pictures that tell stories, and if we don't win our pitch on Wednesday I'll blame Mr Ogilvy. Or my lack of a Big Idea...


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Hate to admit it, but sometimes a picture really does tell a thousand words. And while our tiger appeals for WWF have been going great guns recently, this image is another timely reminder of what we stand to lose if we don't take action fast.

It scooped an award in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National History Museum. But also featuring in the Endangered Wildlife category was the funny-looking little critter below.

He lives deep in the jungles of Borneo. He only comes out at night. And I'm secretly hoping that 2011 is WWF's Year of the Tarsier.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The ultimate personalisation

If there's one thing I've learnt since being at Open, it's that personalisation works. But for those times when it seems difficult to think of new and interesting ways to make connections to people, I will remember this amazing Arcade Fire video. Take two minutes out and try it, it's ACTUALLY amazing. Your own music video. The ultimate in personalisation.

Now, how do we translate this to an envelope..?


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Teach Once. Learn Twice.

This is my daughter's class. And the class next door. Today I told them about tigers and orang-utans and learned a couple of things in the process.

i) Pester power is there to be harnessed for charities who can send volunteers and good products into schools.

ii) Primary school teachers are naturals when it comes to getting a response. I struggled to explain tiger conservation for a couple of minutes. Then my host said, "Who wants to stop the nasty men killing tigers." Sixty hands went up.


Friday, 12 November 2010

Time for a new look?

Rik Mayall just shouted 'well done students' at us in the street and punched the air.

While flattering in one sense (someone thinks I am both young and revolutionary) it is a bit worrying that Tim, Mark, Rebecca and I were on the way back from meeting a new client and, in our eyes, dressed relatively smartly.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Short and Sweet

Tim and James brought me back a souvenir from the IFC in Amsterdam. Luckily, it wasn’t clogs. Instead, it was a skinny book with a bad cover. But now I’m stuck into it, I can see why every copywriter should have it on their bookshelf.

Tiny Essentials of Writing for Fundraising is blunt, opinionated and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. That’s what makes it good. I especially like the chapter called 'Too Many Words, Too Little Meaning'. After all, less is often more when it comes to copy – and sometimes, a few well-chosen words are all it takes to tell a story.

Just ask Ernest Hemingway. He once said that one of his greatest pieces of work consisted of six sad little words:

'For sale: baby shoes, never worn.'

I reckon Ernest would have written a cracking appeal letter.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Top Tips

A sweet way of encouraging donations, as seen at my lovely local coffee shop. Just goes to show that giving people options and making them think about where they put their money is a great means of engagement – and one that's working wonders in our current street prospecting campaign for WWF.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Another neat idea...

This time from Wieden + Kennedy London. Screensavers and LEDs show employees how much energy they are using at work. Nothing massively new there, I hear you cry. However, for all the energy W+K save, a school in Nairobi will be provided with solar power! I'd certainly turn my lamp off if the energy savings went somewhere as worthwhile as that.

You can read all about it here.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Look after the pennies...

In a post not dissimilar to Hannah's, here's a new charity initiative called Pennies. Essentially, and at its most basic, if you buy your £9.95 pizza from Domino's online with your credit card, you will be given the option to 'round it up' to £10 and give that extra 5p to charity. According to Design Week, "A second online retailer is set to follow before Christmas, before the project rolls out to chip-and-pin purchases in store." Neat.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Online Giving Gets Real

When it comes to donating to charity, there’s something vaguely unsatisfying about doing it online. Sure, it’s quick, easy and painless. But it’s also not much fun – and there’s none of the feel-good glow you get from rattling your cold, hard cash loudly into a charity bucket.

So here to change the face – or at least, the interface - of online giving is Nadanu. This New York-based web platform mimics the experience of real-life giving, offering donors the chance to drop virtual coins into an eCharityBox (or onto an eOfferingPlate for churches) and watch them fill up as time goes by.

Simple idea. Satisfaction guaranteed.


Monday, 1 November 2010

The tidiest this room will ever be

After a week of hammering, drilling and much disturbance (so I hear - i was on holiday), our new studio space is nearing completion! Now, who do I talk to about getting a door..?