Bringing Wills, Pets and Direct Together with a Smile | DMA

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Bringing Wills, Pets and Direct Together with a Smile


Free wills are a hot product in the charity sector – offered to increase the possibility of legacy donations. PDSA, the UK’s leading charity that treats the sick and injured pets of owners unable to afford private veterinary costs, wanted to break into this hugely competitive market and run an acquisition campaign to test their own offer.

PDSA used precision targeting through big data modelling to establish their free will offer and secure an increase in future legacy donations – ensuring a brighter future for sick and injured pets in the UK.

Strategy The solution needed to differentiate PDSA’s offer from many other identical offers, persuade people to either make or rewrite a will and ensure that new donations wouldn’t erode current legacy donations.

The Jacob Bailey team turned to big data, cross-referencing current gifting against geographic and ACORN profiling. This profile was mapped against PDSA shops, hospitals and areas where marketing activity had already taken place. Three key target areas were established for impactful, localised and relevant messages – Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay. Each had a population where a will was likely to be most relevant and areas which had high PDSA visibility but were under-indexed in current donors.

With little product differentiation, data from pet food sales and veterinary registrations was overlaid to refine the list of prospects even further.

Creativity The campaign and door drop creative turned the typical animal charity campaign model on it’s head with bright, fun-filled, life-affirming collateral. Rather than try to craft the most depressing door drop ever, the creative emphasised the chance to do something positive. A striking and bold contrast to the typical and saturated images of despondent dogs gazing into the camera favoured by so many animal charities.

It ran with the headline “Bring a smile with your free will” and featured a grinning chihuahua affectionately named Gizmo. The mechanics were kept simple and worked perfectly for door drop, which in turn was well suited to the 55+ demographic. Crafted long copy described the offer, the PDSA’s work and the difference a donation makes in simple steps. A paper response helped this older audience to prepare for solicitor appointments in advance.

Print was supported by eshots and landing pages, timed to maximise the halo effects of door drop, DM, outdoor and POS. Creative was tested against one that focused more on professional reassurance, and varying the channel mix helped develop an optimal combination for future campaigns.

Results The nature of legacy gifts means that prospects may take years to convert but ultimately the donations can be significant. In addition, prospects leaving a legacy donation don’t have to declare it – some supporters prefer to keep it confidential. However, an ROI just shy of 5:1 was achieved. This will treat some of the thousands of sick and injured pets seen in PDSA’s 50 pet hospitals across the UK.

PDSA commented, “We knew breaking into a cold audience with a new product would be a tough challenge, but Jacob Bailey's unconventional approach provided a great ROI at launch.”

There's no doubt that bringing creativity, data and technology together in a fully integrated approach helped to successfully launch the PDSA free will offer in the UK, creating a targetted, high impact campaign with door drop very much on the frontline.

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