What springs to mind when you think of Christmas? Spending time with family, eating more than you thought possible, mountains of glitter perhaps? In recent years, the brand Christmas advert has climbed ever higher on that list for many of us. When John Lewis reveals its Christmas advert, it’s the top trending topic on social media for days afterwards, and this year we’ve seen similar festive efforts from everyone from Heathrow Airport to online clothing retailer Very.
But Christmas is also a time of giving, and charities with a long tradition of seasonal fundraising through direct mail, email and DRTV are now rolling out their own emotive television spots. Take the example from Alzheimer’s Research UK this year. “Santa Forgot” immerses the viewer in a world without Santa, where little girl Freya grows up. On hearing Santa’s story, she travels to the North Pole to enlist the support of out-of-work elves in conducting important research for dementia. While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are inherently affecting, emotional topics, the complexity of clinical research may feel remote or mysterious to a lay audience. In this ad, ARUK has cleverly weaved this clinical research into a strong emotional narrative with an ‘outcome-focused’ crescendo that clearly communicates its ability to impact patients’ everyday lives.
The film has been viewed 170,000 times on YouTube, and more than half a million times on Facebook. People are clearly sharing this story, raising awareness and potentially recruiting long-term advocates to the cause, which could ultimately be many times more valuable than the cumulative one-off £5 SMS donations of this single campaign. At the very least, this perfectly-told story encapsulates the spirit of why we give during the festive season (having Stephen Fry as your narrator is bound to help!). What is particularly remarkable is that it manages to convey just why supporting a charity is for life, not just for Christmas.
“ARUK has cleverly weaved this clinical research into a strong emotional narrative with an ‘outcome-focused’ crescendo that clearly communicates its ability to impact patients’ everyday lives.”