CAMPAIGN: Crisis pudding offers food for thought

Homelessness charity Crisis asked Unity to promote its Crisis Pud – a branded luxury Christmas pudding available from Harrods...

Crisis management: top musicians such as Carl Barât fronted the Crisis campaign
Crisis management: top musicians such as Carl Barât fronted the Crisis campaign

Campaign: Crisis Pud and Pudstock
Client: Crisis
PR Team: Unity
Timescale: June 06 – January 07
Budget: £50,000

For every pudding sold, a homeless person would be given Christmas dinner with ‘all the trimmings’, including the chance to see a doctor, dentist and hairdresser.

To sell as many puddings as possible. To recruit long-term donors from an urban youth audience by positioning Crisis as a ‘cool’ charity.

Strategy and plan
Unity added a ‘lucky sixpence’ to 100 puddings for the campaign. Sixpences could be exchanged for prizes including the chance to win tickets to ‘Pudstock’ – an intimate Indie gig that took place at Proud Galleries in January 2007.

Celebrity rock-chick Pearl Lowe was recruited to front the campaign, and she helped enlist the free services of Athlete, Dirty Pretty Things, Supergrass and Graham Coxon.

Tickets were only available by finding a lucky sixpence via competitions on XFM and in NME, by bidding on eBay or through an online treasure hunt.

Target media included national print and broadcast, London freesheets, trade and charity press; and music, glossy and gossip titles. Lowe and homeless people who Crisis supported were made available for interviews.

An audio press release narrated by Lowe was sent to key journalists on iPod Shuffles which then became lucky sixpence prizes. A print release direc­ted other media to a virtual iPod online, and record companies waived rights from one track from each artist, which were made available to press. Bulletins were placed on band sites, and ‘stamp out homelessness’ hand­stamps were distributed in 12 London clubs. Free advertising was secured on and Crisis Pud pages on networking sites MySpace and Facebook.

During homelessness week in Nov­ember, bands ‘spontaneously’ busked on London’s Southbank, with a video then posted on YouTube.

Measurement and evaluation
The campaign generated 39 articles in nat­ional press, with nine pieces in The Times alone. In-house coverage evaluation registered 93 broadcast pieces, including two hits on Radio 1 and an MTV mini-documentary that was played across 78 countries.

The YouTube movie was down­loaded 2,800 times. The campaign app­eared in Q and Guardian blogs, and Crisis Pud got its own Wikipedia entry.

More than 2,000 puddings were sold, exceeding the previous year’s takings by 100 per cent and generating £40,000. Cash donations, the eBay auction and additional revenue expected from the 1,400 new donors recruited by the campaign, are predicted to raise £34,000.

An ICM poll showed almost a fifth of 16- to 34-year-olds were aware of the campaign, and Crisis made the young, urban market its focus for all of 2007.

Third Sector magazine recently ranked Crisis in the top five of UK charities for innovation, and number one in the ‘homeless’ category.

All bands have agreed to become long-term ambassadors for the Crisis brand, committing to new music projects this year.

NME reporter Kat Lister said: ‘I found Pudstock fantastically well org­anised. I was met straight away at the door and given access to all the artists. It was a great event for a good cause.’


Greg Jones (l), managing partner, Shine Communications: Take one charitable cause, add a clever promotional mechanic, throw in a handful of celebrities, stir in an exclusive music gig and you’ve got the Crisis Pud campaign.

Unity faced a tough challenge. Firstly it needed to cre­ate cut-through for Crisis when other charities would be shouting just as loud. Secondly the agency needed to overcome fatigue in branded music gigs and convince the media that Pudstock was suffi­ciently different and worthy of coverage.

Using Pearl Lowe to recruit other artists was a clever move. Securing bands and artists of that calibre and credibility gave the cam­paign great appeal to both the med­ia and target audience.

Having worked on a num­ber of music pro­jects I’m aware of the need for talent who are both willing to give their time for press, and at the same time are fully engaged in the pro­ject  that they are fronting.

It was also good to see digital media at the heart of this camp­aign – the virtual iPod idea created additional value for media.

Given the campaign generated £74,000 of funds against a budget of £50,000 it would be good to also know what the total value of the coverage was in order to understand whether this campaign delivered the decent return on investment to which Unity had committed itself.

That aside, Unity delivered a fresh, engaging and clever campaign that was more tasty pudding than Christmas turkey.





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