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Top 5 animal charity campaigns

Top 5 animal charity campaigns

Animal charities are notorious for memorable and often incredibly emotive adverts and campaigns. The key to finding the perfect balance between informative, guilt-inducing and shocking, or imaginative and relatable content is to incorporate multiple communications strategies. Whether it is working with celebrity ambassadors, pop-up events, case study promotions or positioning key stakeholders within the charity in the press, a clear communications plan is important.

Clearly, this is no mean feat, yet there are some animal welfare charities that have got this tricky concoction completely spot on. So, here is the coveted list of the leading animal charities that we think have knocked their campaigns out of the park.


  1. Dog’s Trust


Dog’s Trust put an amusing spin on its longstanding ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ campaign, as usual, aiming to highlight the main issue that they routinely face around the festive period: the increased number of people ridding of their unwanted canine Christmas gift. In the light-hearted advert, the charity depicts people treating Christmas presents like dogs- taking a PlayStation for a stroll, playing fetch with a hairdryer and kissing a perfume goodnight. Ending with a woman attempting to wrap a dog up as a present, with Mel Giedroyc’s comforting commentary, we are gently reminded that dogs really aren’t just Christmas presents.


What do we like about it?

This is a refreshing withdrawal from the thought-provoking adverts that we are bombarded with over the festive period. Dog’s Trust have found a happy medium between humorous content, whilst also conveying a clear message. The advert is witty, without being too ambiguous. Gathering over 5,243 views on YouTube in less than two weeks, the positive reaction speaks for itself.


  1. Blue Cross – The world’s first ever estate agents for cats


In April, Blue Cross created the first pop-up estate agents with a twist, the prospective tenants were cats. This initiative was brought to life by Blue Cross in a bid to encourage the adoption of homeless and unwanted cats in its care, as well as making people aware of the importance of mentally stimulating your pets. They also rather ingeniously included ‘architects’ of the cardboard homes in the form of journalists, bloggers, designers, university students and even school children.


What do we like about it?

By making Journalists, students and children the architects of these homes, Blue Cross could guarantee coverage and a wide spread of conversation. They also included an all-important personal, emotive touch, by featuring actual Blue Cross pets who were waiting to be adopted in all their imagery. In total, the campaign amassed 10,716 views on YouTube, a great response for the charity.


  1. PDSA- Pet Fit Club


In this hugely successful campaign, PDSA set their sights on combatting the recently illuminated issue of overweight pets. Whilst on the surface, the concept of a ‘podgy pooch’ may seem amusing (especially when presented with the visuals), there is a serious health issue that must be addressed. Enter, Pet Fit Club, the UK’s biggest and most successful pet slimming campaign competition. Every year, PDSA choose 13 overweight pets from across the UK and facilitate them in reaching their ideal weights, with owners receiving expert advice from PDSA vets and tailored diet programmes to get their pets healthy and every step being tracked on social media.


What do we like about it?

The campaign has a nice mix of humour, relatability and importance. They include visuals on the website that help us to see the funny side of the situation, for example images of the ‘10 fattest pets’, yet at the same time, they address it as a very serious issue, offering advice and giving the public the opportunity to track success stories on social media. Everyone loves a weight loss success story, so what could be better than one starring our favourite four legged friends, that you can also follow on Twitter? The campaign generated national coverage in Daily Mail, Metro, The Express, Sky News, ITV News to name a few.


  1. Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s first major brand campaign


Battersea Dogs & Cats Home opted for a playful approach in their campaign to raise awareness of the ever-present issue of rehoming rescue animals. With the stars of the advert series being actual residents of the home (Peanut the dog and Misty the cat), the ‘dog and cat cam’ documents the day to day life at Battersea, from health check-ups to their activities centre training. As part of the overall media strategy, the ad was accompanied by mini episodes online with various feline and canine guest journalists documenting the charities work.


What do we like about it?

With almost 171,000 views on YouTube, and counting, this awareness campaign has obviously been a success. Perfectly highlighting the brilliant levels of care at Battersea, as well as creating every animal lover’s dream of experiencing the day in the life of their favourite animal. Light hearted, memorable, indisputably cute and accompanied by Sue Perkins’s dulcet tones narrating the whole thing, what’s not to like?


  1. The Jane Goodall Institute- Cycle my cell


The Jane Goodall Institute’s #CycleMyCell Student Challenge is a mobile phone recycling initiative, set up between Winnipeg Area High Schools. The aim with the challenge is simple; target debatably the most environmentally conscious generation and educate them about sustainable consumer choices, in the form of a competition, with the end goal of protecting the Congo basin where Great Apes reside.


What do we like about it?

Creating an informative advert campaign, teamed with a catchy alliterative hashtag and targeting the most social media active and environmentally minded age group is a simple, effective campaign strategy that is a sure-fire way to create a great social buzz and ensure that the campaign has longevity.


Do you agree with our choices? To find out how public relations can benefit your business then please get in touch with a member of our award-winning team.


Our favourite charity Christmas campaigns

You know it’s acceptable to start feeling Christmassy as soon as that first Christmas advert appears on your TV screen. Charity Christmas campaigns are always bound to tug at our heart strings, and promote exactly what Christmas is all about, giving, spending it with others and being thankful for the year.

We take a look at some of the best charity Christmas campaigns from across the years, which have both shocked and moved us.

  • Greenpeace – Alternative Coca-Cola Christmas Advert (2017)

Reworking the famous Coca-Cola #HolidaysAreComing ad aiming to highlight the unfortunate side effect of bottled fizzy drinks and plastic waste, Greenpeace’s campaign was a huge shock to many viewers. Coca-Cola renowned Christmas campaign hits our TV screens every December – but last year, Greenpeace UK set out to hijack the campaign, forcing it to share the spotlight with their ocean plastics campaign.

In the UK alone, 16 million plastic bottles a day aren’t recycled, and many of these end up in our oceans. Greenpeace UK’s spoof on Coca-Cola’s well-known Christmas ad launched just hours before, to see if they could reach a bigger audience by taking over the hashtag.

The campaign was a success with 66% of the conservation about Coca-Cola on the day mentioning Greenpeace UK. PR Week named the advert as one of the season’s top hits, with over 3.5 million views on Facebook worldwide.

  • Sainsbury’s/Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity – The Greatest Gift (2016)

In 2016, Sainsbury’s partnered with GOSH to highlight the importance of sharing Christmas with family and friends. The advert told the story of a hard working and devoted father, Dave, who comes up with an ingenious plan to make sure he can be with his family for Christmas. The story is told through the catchy song The Greatest Gift, sung by comedian James Corden. All profits from the sale of the specially created Gingerbread ‘Dave’ (£1), and The Greatest Gift film animation kit (£5) going to GOSH – the campaign raised £550,000 which was used to fund the dedicated parent and carer accommodation close to the hospital.

  • Alzheimer’s Research – Santa Forgot (2016)

This thought-provoking advert imagines a world where Santa is living with the effects of dementia and no longer visits children on Christmas Eve. It is narrated by the well-known Stephen Fry and aims for people to believe in the power of research to change the future.

Support following the campaign funded a record 84 pioneering research projects, allowing more researchers to join the hunt for new ways to help people living with dementia. Since Santa Forgot hit screens, a further 7,000 people have chosen to volunteer for research studies through Join Dementia Research.

  • WWF – Just Like Us (2017)

The one-minute film told through the reflection in an elephant’s eye using CGI revealed the loss an elephant feels when it sees its herd attacked and killed by poachers for their tusks. The advert acted as an appeal for urgent donations at Christmas to help fund its work worldwide, including bringing down the illegal wildlife trade.

Since the launch of the #JustLikeUs Elephant Christmas Appeal, thousands of people became both members and adopters of the WWF. In 2017, 100,500 members and 231,800 adopters helped raise more than £60 million to fund WWF work.

  • Age UK – Just Another Day (2017)

For 1.4 million older people, Christmas isn’t a special day and just passes them by. This campaign aimed to help Age UK help make sure no one is left alone this Christmas. The incredibly moving short film follows an older man’s unchanging daily routine without human contact across the seasons, of which Christmas is just another day.

The advert saw an 86% increase in call in time volunteers, a +131% increase in the number of regular donations revenue and a 30.3% increase in one-off donations.

  • RSPCA – Woody the Christmas Pup (2017)

Over the Christmas period, the RSPCA braces itself for 2,000 calls a day. This campaign tells the story of Woody the Christmas Pup who is thrown out with the rubbish before being rescued and taken in for care by the RSPCA. The advert features an acoustic cover of the song Stars performed by Lucy Ellie. Proceeds from the single were donated to the RSPCA to help with their work in rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year.

The advert was a big success, gaining more than 250,000 views on Facebook, 70,000 on Twitter and 4,000 on YouTube.

Do you agree with our choices? To find out how public relations can benefit your business then please get in touch with a member of our award-winning team.

The importance of Pride – Liam Hackett, Ditch the Label

Liam hackett

By Liam Hackett, Ditch the Label

Pride season is upon us and now is a great time to reflect on why the celebrations are so important. The reason gay pride takes place in many cities across the world is for communities to unite to take a positive stand against homophobic attitudes within society.

In 1967, sexual acts between two men were decriminalised, so long as they were kept private. Just let that sink in for a second: 50 years ago, it was illegal to be gay – sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Following decriminalisation, there were still leaps and bounds to be made to tackle homophobia and discrimination of the LGBT community. At the time, just because it was legalised, did not mean that it was accepted.

The first Gay Pride parade in London was held in 1972 – with 2000 people in attendance. Since then, Pride celebrations have spread to cities across the world. Today, pride is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ people to come together, celebrate their identities and strive further forward towards a society free from prejudice.

LBGTQ+ rights have come a long way in more recent times, but let’s not forget that there are others who are still having to suppress their sexualities and gender identities because society does not accept them. Members of the LGBT+ community have endured decades of discrimination and abuse from every corner of society and still do today. Same sex relationships are still illegal in 74 countries across the world. 13 of those countries enforce the death penalty for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality. It is mind-boggling that in today’s society, a person can be killed for loving somebody.

We need LGBT+ communities and their allies to stand shoulder to shoulder in defiance of regressive behaviours and work together to encourage a shift in attitudes and change for the better. That’s why at Ditch the Label we live by these values:

  • We want to enjoy life in a society where eventually there is no need or expectation to ‘come out’ unless you choose to do so because it is universally understood that sexuality can be fluid and is not defined by the gender of the person you love. A society free of judgement.
  • We want to live in a world where it is safe to walk down the road holding the hand of the person you love…to openly show affection…to flirt…without having to look over your shoulder or ‘check’ your behaviour to make sure it is safe.
  • We want to live in a world where a person is defined not by their gender or sexuality, but by what’s inside their heads and their hearts.
  • We want a world where it is not only safe to be your true, authentic self, but embraced and celebrated.
  • We want to live in a world where equality prevails, and nobody is discriminated against because of who they fancy, the colour of their skin, where they were born, or what’s in their pants!
  • We want to thrive in a society where love prevails, not hate.

So, this pride, make sure you take a moment to reflect on the meaning behind the revelry. We can’t wait to see you there!

Pride campaigns of 2018

Image result for paddy power give £10,000

Paddy Power – can the team redeem themselves from the highly controversial World Cup Polar Bear stunt? It seems this creative hijack powerhouse is up for showing some Pride this summer – their new initiative will see them donate £10,000 to LGBT+ charities for every goal scored by Russia. Launched with what is possibly the best quote of all time in a press release: “Given they invented Russian Dolls, you’d be forgiven for thinking Russia wouldn’t have an issue with women being into other women.” Let’s hope they really will put their money where their mouth is…

Ditch the labelPHA client and anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label have once again teamed up with River Island for a stylish collaboration, this time celebrating Pride. The exclusive T-shirt range will help to raise funds for the charity which was started by CEO Liam Hackett after he was bullied for being gay. Grab yours while you can!

Bravo to Barclays who have returned as the main sponsor of Pride for the fifth year running. As well as supporting Pride financially, the bank also provides meeting spaces and support for community groups and their teams volunteer on parade day to assist with banking all the donations taken. For a full list of Pride events supported by Barclays look here.

Web giant Google is also getting in on the game. Its attempt to make spreadsheets fun truly paid off, after it released a secret hack to turn its Google Sheets rainbow themed if you type P R I D E into the top of 5 consecutive columns.Google sheets

Finally, Pride sponsors the AA have brought a bit of experiential activity to their support. To celebrate Pride, they have re-launched the #SpotThePrideVan competition. The campaign has prompted Twitter users to question whether the service is dumping its iconic yellow vans – but in fact, if you spot a rainbow van and share a pic with the AA, you could be in for a chance to win a prize!

Four estate agents who are leading the way in CSR

CSR has become one of the standard business practices of our time. Consumers now demand that companies start playing an active role in addressing social, cultural and environmental issues. For brands and companies who have embraced CSR, it has given them the opportunity to boost their brands reputation but also a chance to attract talent and retain staff.

Whether it’s where we decide to raise a family or a house which has been in the family for generations, homes will always have an emotional spot in our hearts. That’s why we’ve decided to look at the estate agents who are making it their responsibility to look after the communities and environments in the areas they operate in.


Whilst making it their mission to enable local communities to reach their full potential, they are also proud to support Veterans Aid. A charity which makes sure veterans in crisis receive vital care. Foxtons staff have also made it their duty that customers old and new, know about the app ‘Gone for Good’ which helps people donate their unwanted goods to local charities.

Foxtons have also looked to improve their environmental impact by ensuring all office lighting is low energy and that they are only in use during office hours. Foxtons support the charity WaterAid by supplying their offices with bottled Belu water. Belu water is made with environmentally friendly packaging who also donate 100% of their profits back to WaterAid.

Hamptons International

Supporting and raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK since 2013, Hamptons International has cycled, ran, and baked their way to raising over £200,000. Whilst partnering with the charity, Hamptons International have set up multiple donation stations across the UK. Transforming the items, you no longer need into funds for life-saving research, with 100% of the money going to Cancer Research UK.

One fundraising event ‘Relay Around the Regions’ which was a company-wide fundraiser, where 300 individuals from around the business travelled between their 85 branches using various modes of transport whilst passing on the baton. The campaign coincided with ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ and over 11 days, over £12,000 was raised for the charity.


From consultants in training to experienced Directors, Dexters spend 10 times the industry average on training their people to ensure that they are up to date with the latest legislation. They actively encourage professional development for their staff to stand them in better stead later in life.

Dexters can also boast an overall gender breakdown of 50/50, and that 57% of manager and above roles in support are held by females. They have set themselves the target of by 2021 that over 50% of their manager and above fee earning roles are held by women.

Whilst expanding at a rapid rate through London, they are committed to finding new ways to reduce their carbon footprint, primarily through going paperless as much as possible.

Perry Bishop and Chambers

Perry Bishop and Chambers takes CSR seriously, so seriously in fact that they only employ staff who live near the towns in which their offices are located, their local knowledge being a special touch for vendors and buyers. The estate agents also look to engage local suppliers and refer business to other locally based companies. Continuously sponsoring events, sport clubs and schools throughout the year in the local community. Whilst also donating a certain percentage from every sold house to local charities.

If you would like to talk about how PR could maximise your business or how you could share your CSR story please get in touch with a member of our award-winning team today.

Mental Health Awareness Week

It won’t have escaped your notice that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. It seems to us that this year more than ever before, corporates and charities alike are working hard to raise awareness of good mental health. Here’s our run-down of some of the best campaigns to engage with this MHAW:

The Mental Health Foundation is focusing the week on stress and has released statistics looking at stress in the workplace. It found that millennials felt more under pressure at work than baby boomers do – stating that working through stress was expected in their job. You can show your support for good mental health for all by ordering and wearing a green ribbon from the Mental Health Foundation.

Charity Mind has also chosen to focus on stress in the workplace. It encourages employers to create a stress awareness space, where staff can share their thoughts and feelings when they are feeling stressed through simple ‘when I’m stressed…’ cards. Luckily for us media folk, NABS is there to support anyone feeling stressed at work with a confidential helpline and events designed to help you boost your own personal mental health toolbox.

Rethink Mental Illness is well known for their hard-hitting campaigns. This MHAW, the charity is focusing on converting awareness into action and has given seven simple ways you can get involved to push for reform, fight stigma and campaign for change in the mental health space.

It’s not just charities getting in on the act. PHA client Xercise4Less has opened its doors for anyone to come and train for free throughout MHAW. The gym chain is aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote exercise as a great way for improving mental health and decreasing stress.

Also, on the corporate charge, the Bauer Media group has launched a petition calling on the government to make it a requirement for every workplace or college to have a mental health work aider in the UK. The publisher’s research found that 90% of the public say they still feel there is a taboo around discussing mental health and 86% agree mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing the country today.

Finally – if you’d like to show your support for good mental health beyond this week, PHA Client anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label has recently launched Karma bands – simple accessories with lovely stress-busting slogans including ‘Breath’, ‘Fearless’ and ‘Ride the Wave’.

If you’re interested in learning more about how PR can help your charity stand out, get in touch with us today.

The charities to watch at the Virgin London Marathon

26.2 miles. The ultimate endurance event. There may be marathons all around the world, but The Virgin London Marathon is an event which inspires people across the globe to enter.

The Virgin London Marathon is a critical date in the calendar for charities. Whatever the cause might be, most of the runners who cross the start line come Sunday morning will be running for a cause or loved one.

We’d love to shout out all the amazing causes that are supported on the day but we thought we’d highlight ten who were particularly close to our hearts at PHA.

Dedicated to providing free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to children in need. Smile Train continues to campaign to give children new smiles, new beginnings and the opportunity for cleft children to live full and productive lives.

Most people in the UK have had cancer affect their lives in one way or another. Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to research on the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer.

Rainbow Trust provides bespoke support for families who have a child with a serious illness. Offering the whole family support, regardless of diagnosis and are there for as long as a family needs them. Currently supporting almost 2,500 families in the UK, with more donations they support more families who desperately need it.

The MS Society is the UK’s leading multiple sclerosis charity, with the money raised from fundraising events such as Virgin London Marathon they can continue to invest in cutting-edge research and provide support to those affected by the condition.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK fight to achieve a better quality of life for over 300,000people in the UK suffering physically and emotionally from the disease alongside other forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

A charity dedicated completely to animals. Battersea aims to never turn away a dog or cat in need of help. Funds raised from charity events can help them to continue caring for them until loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it might take.

With around 700,000 people in the UK on the autism spectrum, together with their families, they make up around 2.8 million people whose lives are touched by autism daily. The NAS help to raise awareness and make the world a friendlier place for someone with autism.

The mental health charity making a difference. They make sure that no one has to face a mental health problem alone. They promise to not give up until everyone suffering a mental health problem gets the right support.

Continuing to lead the fight against the child abuse in the UK. The NSPCC help children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives, they protect children at risk and find the best ways to prevent child abuse from ever happening in the first place.

The leading dementia charity in the UK, who provide information and support, improve care, fund research, and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.


Good luck to all the runners for this year’s marathon we’ll be cheering you on!

The best charity campaigns of 2017

2017 has been a year of challenges, transformation and triumphs for the charity sector. Well established not-for-profit organisations have had to compete with individual campaigners and corporates alike to get their message heard – and some of the results have been stunning. Here’s a quick look back at the campaigns that have had the PHA team talking this year.

 Storytelling with new technology – Tombohuaun Untapped, WaterAid

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash

A recent entry but one that I can’t stop thinking about. WaterAid has managed to create a connection between this PR in Soho and villagers in Tombohuauan, Sierra Leone – a village in desperate need of clean water and one at the heart of WaterAid’s Untapped appeal.

Anyone with an interest can explore Tombohuaun via a fact-filled 360 view of the village and waterhole and you can also interact with a chatbot which allows you to ‘speak’ to villager Sellu through Facebook messenger. But this is no guilt-trip – it’s informative and compelling personal storytelling. A quiz that allows you to be given your own village visitor nickname delivered via video by Matu delivers a deeper connection. It all helps supporters to feel at the centre of the storytelling and connect them to the campaign for clean water for all.

WaterAid’s Untapped Appeal will be doubled by the UK government until 31 January.

Crowdsourcing for creativity – The C-Word (I hate you c*****)

Isabella Lyttle’s family are raising funds for this brave 10-year-old who is battling cancer, so that she can access a clinical trial abroad to help her beat neuroblastoma.

The creative for Isabella’s fundraiser came about after her godmother posted on creative crowdsourcing site One Minute Briefs. The result is a video that at first shocks, with Isabella repeatedly saying the bleeped-out ‘c-word’, but it compels the viewer to watch to the end – driving home the importance of her plea. The video soon went viral and achieved widespread media interest:

Isabella and her family are also supported by Solving Kids Cancer, so supporters can donate via the charity’s text to donate line or fundraising team, or through JustGiving. To date, the family has raised just over £27,000.


Battling taboos – Know your lemons, Worldwide Breast Cancer  

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

If you cast your mind back to January, you’re bound to recall the social media storm that gave a much-celebrated spotlight to designer and charity founder Corrine Beaumont’s campaign to #KnowYourLemons.

Corrine’s image of 12 lemons in an egg box, each depicting different possible breast cancer symptoms in a simple way spoke a universal truth – women all around the world need to know more about spotting the signs. The image has now been seen on social media by 200 million people in 2017.


Dominating an anniversary – SSAFA Women 100

We had a great debate about whether a campaign we personally worked on should make this list – but we couldn’t post this blog without the inclusion of SSAFA’s Women 100.

July this year marked the centenary of the formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). We all know that any major anniversary will attract attention from multiple charities with something to celebrate, but SSAFA’s Women 100 campaign managed to dominate the media space through visual storytelling at its best. Our team worked with SSAFA and renowned war photographer Robert Wilson to create an iconic image which showcased the evolution of women in service over the last century. The stunning image celebrated serving women and veterans with a huge range of roles from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce, including Olympic gold medalists Dame Kelly Holmes and Heather Stanning OBE.


Corporate powered campaign – Sky Ocean Rescue

Photo by Paul Morris on Unsplash

Sky set up this campaign to save the ocean from plastic long before we were all tearing up at Blue Planet II. Using its global reach to tackle a global issue, Sky regularly covers associated stories on its news channels, reports successes (such as Coco-Cola dropping opposition Deposit Return Schemes in Scotland), has made its own documentary and provides advice for consumers on how to reduce their own personal plastic use.

Never before has this topic needed the limelight more. As Sky tells us – ‘Every minute, the equivalent of a rubbish truckload of plastic goes in to our oceans, it never decomposes and will remain there forever.’