Voluntary Sector: Shelter to tap older audience

Bright Young Things called in as housing charity Shelter seeks to change its emphasis.

Shelter has brought in Bright Young Things Communications as it prepares to launch its Now is the Time campaign, which targets an older audience than it has previously.

The housing and homelessness charity has briefed Bright Young Things to mobilise consumers around its campaign to ensure the Government sticks to its promise to build three million new homes by 2020.

Now is the Time was launched in June, but Bright Young Things will help launch the second consumer stage of the campaign in January. It will ask people to sign up to a digital petition to warn the Government to stick to its pledge.

The news comes a week after the Bank of England's dramatic 1.5 percentage point cut in interest rates to help homeowners, and at a time when consumers are under increasing financial pressure, with a rise in repossession rates and a £30,000 drop in value on the average UK home.

Bright Young Things MD Niall Cowley said: 'The landscape of housing has changed. People with regular jobs and regular lifestyles are now having housing problems. This campaign will strike while the iron is hot.'

Shelter believes it has strong brand awareness among 18- to- 30-year-olds, but is keen to reach out to older supporters. Bright Young Things will use celebrities to engage an older audience and obtain consumer coverage. It has started compiling case studies from celebrities about their relationship with poor housing, including film and theatre director Mike Leigh, actor Anthony Head, actor David Morrissey and actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste.

The charity is also keen to break down misconceptions that Shelter is only a charity for the homeless. 'There is a misconception that the charity is for rough sleepers,' said Shelter's media manager Emma Guise.

Shelter is also hoping the campaign will help with fundraising. It has been affected by the economic downturn and will be making 33 staff redundant.

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