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