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SSAFA – Left Behind Campaign

  • SSAFA Left Behind Charity PR Case Study
  • SSAFA Left Behind Charity PR Case Study
  • SSAFA Left Behind Charity PR Case Study
  • SSAFA Left Behind Charity PR Case Study
  • SSAFA Left Behind Charity PR Case Study

Client objective

The overriding campaign objective was to raise awareness of SSAFA’s Bereaved Family Support groups and encourage bereaved families to come forward for support.

This meant:

  • Raising awareness of the support groups within the key SSAFA demographic – men/women 35-55.
  • Increasing calls to SSAFA’s bereavement helplines by 10%.
  • Raising awareness of the support groups in the media by generating 50 pieces of coverage around the one year anniversary of the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan.
  • Raising awareness in Scotland, an area SSAFA identified where awareness was particularly low.

Originality and creativity

To raise awareness of SSAFA’s bereavement service we needed to understand how military families dealt with bereavement. Using SSAFA’s research and psychologist Jo Hemmings, we found that military families take an average of four years to come forward and seek support, three years longer than non-military families.

We knew that 454 soldiers were killed during the 13-year conflict and we also knew that to appeal to the families struggling to come to terms with their loss, even four years on, we would need to send a clear message: They were not alone, others were experiencing the same difficulties and SSAFA had helped families in similar situations and could help them too.

Strategy and implementation

Our integrated campaign strategy was to send the message through powerful images and videos, using bereaved families who were already benefiting from SSAFA’s support groups to engage with our target audience and encourage them to come forward.

Phase 1 – Working with leading photographer and official ‘War Artist’ Robert Wilson, we created a series of evocative pictures showing four bereaved family members and how they live with their daily grief. Testimonials accompanied these images, detailing how SSAFA’s support groups were helping these families cope. We knew that the power of these images would resonate with the media, enabling us to raise awareness of SSAFA and the good work that its support groups were doing every day.

Phase 2 – We worked with one of the charities celebrity ambassadors, Antony Cotton, to carry our message further. He had mass appeal, a passion and enthusiasm for SSAFA and personal connections to the Armed Forces. He was able to speak authentically and emotionally about the support groups on screen which engaged our target audience. Following one such appearance SSAFA received this message from a grieving member of a military family: “I saw Antony Cotton on Good Morning Britain today and I think it’s time to address things now”.

Phase 3 – Raising awareness wasn’t enough so we launched a strategic social media campaign aimed at the target audience. We started a conversation about this little-discussed topic, encouraging engagement with the campaign. We filmed a second set of bereaved family members who talked honestly and emotionally about their experiences.

We used online tool Pulsar to measure online conversation to ensure we maximised the reach of the video. We also asked celebrity contacts to share the video with their followers to further increase it’s reach.

Phase 4 – To target Scotland we projected one of Robert Wilson’s photographic images onto the fascia of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. This huge image, illuminated on one of the city’s major landmarks, captured the mass regional imagination and grabbed the attention of regional media.

Results and evaluation

Our campaign resulted in us meeting the objectives and KPIs set by SSAFA, for example:

We increased calls to SSAFA’s by 20% compared to the period before the campaign, achieved 145 pieces of coverage including a double page spread in the Sunday Telegraph, secured 28 broadcast pieces on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast and Channel 5 News to name a few and dominated the one-year Afghanistan anniversary space in the media.

Our social media campaign also raised awareness of the support groups within the key SSAFA demographic including: 558,913 combined videos views on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, 2,229,380 total social reach, 12,000 clicks to the campaign landing page, 8734 new likes on Facebook (109% increase compared to normal growth),  1780 new Twitter followers (105% increase compared to normal growth).

It was the response from bereaved families that truly achieved the objective of the client: to encourage grieving family members to come forward for support: ‘I’ve seen the campaign in the Sunday Telegraph. I’m so lonely, I’m a burden to my family. No one understands what I’ve been through, I can’t live like this anymore. Can you help?’

Our campaign was also shortlisted for the PRCA Not for Profit and Charity Campaign Award 2016.

Featured publications

  • Daily Telegraph
    Daily Telegraph
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  • Channel 5
  • BBC Breakfast
  • The city magazine
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