Campaign: NSPCC urges kids to seek help immediately - Charity PR

Campaign: Someone To Turn To Client: NSPCC PR Team: In-house Timescale: November 2003-March 2004 Budget: Around £100,000

In January, the NSPCC launched 'Someone To Turn To', its first major PR push to target young people directly. As three quarters of children who are sexually abused fail to tell anyone at the time, the campaign urged young people to recognise when something wrong is happening to them and seek help immediately.

Objectives

To raise the profile of the NSPCC and its helpline with 11 to 16-year-olds through youth media. To encourage secondary schools to order free copies of the charity's booklet Worried?

Need to Talk? and an accompanying teachers' pack. To put pressure on the Government to fund independent counsellors for every school.

Strategy and Plan

To publicise its helpline and dedicated worriedneed2talk.org.uk website, the PR team targeted national and youth media with a survey, revealing young people's top concerns and the barriers that prevent them from seeking help.

In January, activities included placing features in youth publications, supported by celebrities such as Thierry Henry, Vernon Kay, Lisa Maffia, former Spice Girl Mel C and Miss Dynamite, who also appeared in a TV ad campaign.

The PR team used local media and mailings to persuade schools to order copies of its booklet and teachers' pack. Meanwhile, the charity asked its 90,000 campaigners to write to the Secretary of State for Education Charles Clarke, demanding independent counselling for each child in every UK school.

Measurement and Evaluation

The campaign resulted in 248 media items across TV, radio, print and online outlets, including articles in Mizz, Smash Hits, Shoot!, The Sun and the Evening Standard, as well as features on GMTV and This Morning.

According to media evaluation company Metrica, 54 per cent of coverage carried the key message 'talking about a problem can help it stop'.

Results

Two million copies of Worried? Need to Talk? and the associated teachers' pack were sent out to schools and more than 10,000 NSPCC supporters lobbied Clarke. From 12 January to 29 February, calls to the NSPCC helpline rose by 81 per cent compared with the same period in 2003 - more than 500 calls a day.

Mizz features editor Kia Hansen says the campaign backed up the magazine's aim to advise young people and let them know they're not alone. She adds: 'The PR team was really helpful and provided us with expert opinions and case studies, with excellent back-up research and statistics.'

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