CAMPAIGNS: INTEGRATED MARKETING; Urging bosses to have blind faith

Client: Royal National Institute for the Blind PR Team: In-house; advertising: DMB&B Campaign: Blind in Britain: the employment challenge Timescale: 9-16 September Budget: PR pounds 10,000, advertising pounds 350,000

Client: Royal National Institute for the Blind

PR Team: In-house; advertising: DMB&B

Campaign: Blind in Britain: the employment challenge

Timescale: 9-16 September

Budget: PR pounds 10,000, advertising pounds 350,000



Discrimination on the grounds of disability will become illegal when the

employment provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act come into

force on 2 December. However, RNIB research shows that at present over

50 per cent of employers say they will not hire anyone who has

difficulty in seeing.



There are about 100,000 visually impaired people of working age but only

one in four are working and they are two and a half times more likely to

be out of work than fully sighted people. This year the RNIB used its

annual awareness week to focus on employer discrimination with an

integrated campaign.



Objective



To reach a primary audience of opinion formers and employers and to

increase public awareness, highlighting the situation in the run-up to

the new act and the changes in attitude necessary to meet its

requirements.



Tactics



The campaign employed several strands - PR, advertising and direct mail

- all built around the awareness week. Newspapers were targeted with

colour ads featuring hard-hitting lines such as ‘Close your eyes. Do you

feel less intelligent?’ Along with regionals, business press and

employers’ magazines, they were also provided with a detailed report,

‘Blind in Britain; the employment challenge’ by RNIB’s in-house team.



The press pack included solutions and suggestions sheets showing that it

need not be difficult to employ the visually impaired. The tabloids and

TV were targeted with the story of a round UK fund-raising flight by

blind pilot, Ken Woodward who took off from Elstree airport with the

support of stars from EastEnders. Syndicated tapes of visually impaired

people talking about their own experiences in trying to get jobs were

sent to radio stations.



Results



Ken Woodward’s flight attracted widespread TV interest with six national

TV and 20 regional TV items. The campaign netted 14 pieces in the

national press and the charity estimates that regional press coverage

should total around 200 in total. Local radio carried 88 items and the

story warranted 17 national radio slots. Radio 4’s In Touch devoted most

of that week’s programme to the campaign and Classic FM held a themed

evening.



Verdict



A well integrated campaign in which advertising and PR were neatly

interwoven, although perhaps a higher proportionate PR spend could have

been more cost effective. The media campaign was expertly tiered, with

human interest stories targeted at the tabloids and the focus on

imminent legislation providing a hook for the broadsheets. Ken

Woodward’s flight was particularly TV-friendly.



The RNIB is continuing to monitor public awareness of its campaign with

a Harris survey. But company feedback already indicates that the varied

presentation of the campaign was appreciated and the message taken on

board. It remains to be seen however, if good intentions inspired by the

campaign, will ultimately turn into jobs for the blind.



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