Britain’s biggest-spending charity, the NSPCC, admitted this week
that it was looking for a new agency, despite the accolades showered on
the incumbent, Saatchi & Saatchi, for its controversial ’full stop’
Saatchis, which has worked on the business for 15 years, faces a fight
against a six-strong list of agencies, which includes Leagas Delaney,
Court Burkitt & Co, WCRS, Lowe Howard-Spink, TBWA GGT Simons Palmer and
St Luke’s. Saatchis claimed it would also be involved in the next stage
of the campaign.
The NSPCC has put pounds 6 million - twice as much as any other UK
charity - behind Saatchis’ hard-hitting ads over the past 12 months.
These focused on the temptation to ignore child cruelty rather than do
something about it, and featured screaming parents and terrified
An NSPCC spokesman claimed its discussions with agencies were part of a
statutory review of its advertising account. However the briefing
document tellingly specifies that the agency must be ’committed’,
’reliable’ and ’available’, hinting at possible problems in the
’We are undertaking this review as a best practice measure. We feel this
is a responsible approach to all involved with the NSPCC,’ the spokesman
Saatchis denied there had been any account management problems on the
business. ’We worked on this (full stop) campaign for four years, and
have been hugely committed,’ Saatchi & Saatchi’s joint chief executive,
Tamara Ingram, said.
The deliberately unsettling work has already raised pounds 300 million
for the charity, six times more than it normally collects, and has
resulted in the recruitment of 140,000 new campaigners against child
The advertising shows childhood icons, such as Rupert Bear, Action Man,
Alan Shearer and the Spice Girls hiding their eyes from witnessing
different types of child abuse, and uses the line, ’Sometimes, we can’t
bear to look either’.
It attracted 150 complaints from people who found it too disturbing.
However, the Independent Television Commission ruled that the ads were
generally acceptable and should be allowed to continue.