RNIB: Talking Books initiative
RNIB: Talking Books initiative
A view from Simon S Kershaw

CREATIVE STRATEGY: An idea from RNIB with a happy ending for children

Winnie the Pooh's little songs... Peter Pan's swashbuckling adventures... and Fungus the Bogeyman's life of boils and slime - with a book on your lap, you can carry a child on a journey into all kinds of imagined worlds.

Gentle reader, if you have small children, you no doubt enjoy reading to them of an evening. Certainly it’s a pleasure I greatly miss now that my little brood is all growed up.

And from this shared experience, your child swiftly takes up books for themselves.  That is, with one physical proviso... so long as they can see. 

It is too trite to say this, of course, but blindness takes so much from childhood.  But the disability doesn’t have to leave children bereft of the stories that we’ve all enjoyed and remember with such fondness.

A recent mailing for RNIB makes the point with a beautifully simple idea.  Using illustrations from classic children’s books, the art director brutally removes the main character to make the point: no Talking Books from RNIB, no Gruffalo,  Alice or Tiny Tim.

While a blind child will never enjoy the illustrations from these tales, they can just as easily imagine the characters for themselves thanks to the magic of the authors’ descriptions. 

With bold art direction and compelling copy, what we have here is a neatly delivered problem-solution pack.  It’s also refreshing to see a visually-led concept in a sector better known for copy-heavy ideas. 

Any criticisms?  Well, while I understand that charities can’t be seen to be flash with their cash, and certain formats are more "efficient", it is still disappointing to see the bog standard C5 mailer time after time. 

On the plus side, unlike many fundraisers, the RNIB have largely resisted the temptation to dilute a single-minded proposition with too many peripheral messages or gimmicky "gifts".

Overall, if you haven’t already chosen a good cause for the season of goodwill, then this initiative from RNIB is certainly worth a look.