How advertising campaigns are changing charities fundraising strategies

According to CBS News, an estimated 103.4 million people watched the highly anticipated 2018 Super Bowl. Anyone who’s ever heard of the Super Bowl is probably also aware, that although a great American sporting event, the halftime show, sponsorship and highly anticipated adverts shown in commercial breaks, generate as much excitement and news coverage as the final score.

As 2018’s main sponsor Stella Artois were the latest company to see the value in investing (a no doubt considerable chunk) of their marketing budget in the event. But they did something a little different to those before them, using this opportunity to not only promote their brand but a fantastic cause they partner with, water.org.

Manopalising on the global audience the Super Bowl attracts, Stella, who have been in partnership with water.org since 2015, produced a moving advert featuring Matt Damon, the charities co-founder. Damon delivered a powerful message, explaining that those living in developing countries have to travel up to 6 hours a day to access water, where for most of us, getting water is an effortless task, requiring just a quick turn of the tap. The message was designed to highlight that something we need to survive, but don’t really think about, and sometimes, take for granted, is not so simple to come by for others. Harry Lewis, Stella’s Vice-President for Marketing explained the companies reasoning for using such a huge marketing opportunity to promote the charities message, “what we’re all about is getting as many people involved and as many eyeballs on our content for a good cause.”

Stella were the first company ever to let their Super Bowl advert appear before the opening on the internet. Marketing technology company Amobee, stated that digital content engagement around Stella has increased by 46% in the two weeks since the ad came out. Water.org have also benefited, with engagement substantially rising to 281%. Harry Lewis told The Drum that “the beer brand wants its message to reach as many people as humanly possible.” Clearly, an early release of the ad has ensured the message has reached far and wide, with a chance for momentum to build up around social media.

Celebrity or ‘civilian’, people were engaged with this campaign, taking to Twitter to show their support and push Stella’s message ‘every 12 pack = 12 months of clean water’. The positive levels of high engagement with the compelling brand messaging has clearly contributed to the success of the campaign.

For charities, some sources of income are in decline, which leaves a need to fill the gap on raising money and profile. An Institute of Fundraising survey from 2015 revealed that 80% of responding charities had a corporate fundraising programme, with the average income growing by 12% a year. This is now the primary method of fundraising for a staggering third of charities. It seems certain these sorts of charity partnerships are set to expand, along with the marketing campaigns.

If this blog was of interest to you, you can find out more about our online International Marketing MSc (online) at Sussex.

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