Campaign: Launch of 2003 Poppy Appeal
Client: Littlewoods Lotteries
PR team: Brahm PR
Timescale: September-November 2003
Littlewoods Lotteries has produced a Poppy Appeal scratchcard for the Royal British Legion (RBL) since 1998, raising almost £2m. For the 2003 launch, Brahm PR was hired to run the first Poppy Card campaign. Objectives
To increase sales. To persuade regular scratchcard players to purchase a Poppy Card. To position the card as 'new' in the market, despite its five-year history.
Strategy and Plan
Brahm launched the card a week before the official Poppy Appeal launch to ensure it was the first piece of PR activity for the 2003 Poppy campaign. Emphasising the Poppy Card rather than Littlewoods Lotteries was seen as key to achieving media coverage, as was stressing that the scratchcard was a 'new' way for people to donate money to the Poppy Appeal.
With a target audience of low-income scratchcard buyers, the team's priority was to achieve high-impact national tabloid coverage. Brahm set up a photocall with Britain's oldest war veteran, 107-year-old Harry Allingham, glamour model Nell McAndrew - dubbed the 21st century 'forces' sweetheart' after her trips to Iraq - and D-Day landing sailor Alan Reid.
The location of the shoot, HMS Belfast moored on the Thames, was chosen for its historical importance and central location for the media. After the shoot, broadcast media were given the opportunity to interview the celebrities, along with spokespeople from RBL and Littlewoods. Brahm also sent a media pack containing information about the card, the history of the Poppy Appeal, detailed biographies of the veterans and sample Poppy Cards to the regional and national press.
The team worked closely with the RBL press office to add a local flavour to the campaign. The team put together 200 press packs to help local RBL volunteers to sell in the campaign to their personal contacts on local newspapers.
Measurement and Evaluation
More than 100 stories were generated in national, regional and local media, including the BBC and Sky News. Print coverage included The Sun, Heat and The Independent. Brahm estimates that around 45 per cent of the coverage mentioned Littlewoods.
Results for Poppy Card showed that sales for October and November 2003 increased year-on-year by 62 per cent, from 400,000 sales in 2002 to 650,000 units sold in 2003.
'Using the veterans was a good PR strategy. I came along to interview them and ended up covering the scratchcard launch,' says a BBC news correspondent.
'The location was excellent and the photocall was very well organised.'