O&M defies norm in Samaritans ads

This year's festive campaign by Ogilvy & Mather for The Samaritans

employs humour in a bold attempt to break the mould of charity


In a strategy about-face, instead of raising awareness of its services,

the campaign aims to raise funds for The Samaritans.

It represents a marked difference from the agency's work earlier this

year after the foot-and-mouth epidemic, which used interview footage of

farmers affected by the agricultural disaster.

The new ads aim to underline The Samaritans' core focus and expertise -

listening. The commercials show situations of Samaritans volunteers

failing to fundraise successfully, ending with the line: "We're better

at listening than raising money. Please donate."

One spot shows The Samaritans shooting a calendar of nudes with

inappropriate volunteers. Another shows carol-singing volunteers fleeing

when a door is opened by an aggressive man in a vest leading two barking


O&M's creative director, Nigel Roberts, explained the new tactic: "'Tis

the season to be bombarded with emotional blackmail. And, unfortunately,

people are becoming immune to it. Generally, people are aware of what

The Samaritans does, so the campaign deliberately lets your heart

strings off the hook and focuses on the simple fact that it needs money

to do what it does and to stand out from other fundraising appeals."

The ads were written by Peter Reid, art directed by Carl Broadhurst and

directed by Dominic Brigstocke through Union. Media is handled by