CAMPAIGNS: Charity PR - Kicking off summer fun for research

Client: Action Research

Client: Action Research

Campaign: Launch of ’Touching Lives’ campaign

PR Team: In-house

Timescale: 3 Mar - Apr 2000

Budget: pounds 5,000

National medical research charity, Action Research, is dedicated to

preventing and treating disease and disability by funding medical


The ’Touching Lives’ campaign for 2000 plays on the fact that the

charity has changed, and intends to keep changing for the better, the

lives of the UK’s population.

The charity’s current projects include investigating the causes of

premature birth, meningitis, sickle cell disease, epilepsy and


Action Research is to run a series of events over the course of the

summer to raise a targeted pounds 1.5 million.


To raise awareness of the charity and its planned events, targeting the

national and regional media, including Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to

kick off the fundraising.

Strategy and Plan

Action Research’s official mascot is Paddington Bear. A Paddington and

Action Research-branded vehicle and costume were devised to take the

campaign around the UK. Paddington and Company - owner of the Paddington

trademark - agreed to fund the artwork and driver of the van. Toyota

supported the campaign by providing the charity with a vehicle and Royal

and Sun Alliance also agreed to offer its services and payed for


To tie in with the Paddington theme, the in-house team decided to kick

off the campaign on National Marmalade Day (3 March) at St Mary’s

Hospital in Paddington.

Ken Livingstone agreed to attend the photocall and offer his

encouragement and support of the charity. He was deemed an appropriate

figure as his first job was working as a lab technician in medical

research. The national press were invited to the event and about 20

press photographers and one TV crew attended.

Following the London launch the ’bear-mobile’ travelled to cities and

towns across the UK to launch ’Touching Lives’ to the regional


Details of forthcoming fund-raising events that the public could

participate in were disclosed to regional media.

Many of the venues were chosen because they were institutions that had

been funded for medical research by Action Research. For example, the

University of Newcastle has discovered a gene responsible for muscular

dystrophy using research funded by the charity.

The campaign launch was also supported with an advertising campaign

using four-sheet poster advertising at railway stations running into a

number of major London terminals, and nationwide advertising and

promotion on Classic FM.

In July, a charity cycle ride to Paris is being held and a ’bring your

bear’ week is scheduled for June, when adults and children can make a

donation and take their teddy into the office or classroom.

Measurement and Evaluation

The national launch in London achieved coverage in the Times, the

Independent, the Daily Star, the Morning Star, the Glasgow Herald,

regional TV news programme London Tonight and BBC Online. The regional

launches were covered in local papers and radio stations across the



The ’Touching Lives’ campaign is ongoing, with many events planned for

the coming year. Funds raised have so far been minimal as the majority

of events are planned for the summer.

The use of the ’bear-mobile’ gained extensive national and regional

coverage, which hopefully informed a large proportion of the public of

what the charity does and of the chance of taking part in forthcoming

events. Given its past record for fundraising and high media profile,

the charity should achieve its target.

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