Breaking: Public Speak Savvy 101 in Melbourne

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Looking for a media training workshop for your spokespeople? Hootville Communications has decided to host a public Speak Savvy 101 workshop in Melbourne – our first public workshop for at least five years and our second ever such session in Melbourne. It shall be held late June / July. Full details to come but here’s what we know:

  • small, strictly limited group of like-minded people;
  • pre-workshop preparation and homework;
  • unlimited 12-months of back-up coaching
  • rather very nice CBD venue;
  • 10-4pm;
  • lots of interaction and rehearsal;
  • lunch on us and please stick around for a drink afterwards;
  • video camera to ensure everyone is on their toes;
  • personal attention to your issues, organisation and audiences;
  • advice on media targets and story angles you are currently ignoring;
  • comprehensive notes;
  • lots of examples both good and bad.
media trainer Brett de Hoedt

"What do you mean some readers won't want to come? Turncoats!"

Trainer is of course former journalist, broadcaster and media trainer Brett de Hoedt (left) who trains Australian Conservation Foundation, Berry Street, Australian Climate Commission, Landcare, Youth Affairs Council Victoria, St Vincent Institute, City of Ballarat Multicultural Ambassadors, Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service, LG Pro and dozens more each year to much acclaim.

The pace is challenging, the style informal and the curriculum practical:

WHAT THE MEDIA WANTS: what it takes to get the media profile you seek.

COMMUNICATIONS COMMANDMENTS: five principles to guide all your communications.

KEY MESSAGES and SOUND BITES: selecting and delivering them.

PRE-INTERVIEW PREPARATION: questions to ask, issues to resolve, conditions to apply beforehand to avoid poor performances and nasty surprises.

FAQs: Preparing strong answers for common questions and repeat issues.

PERCEPTIONS: understanding how the media and your audiences perceive you and your issues. Getting to know your audiences’ perceptions, anxieties, pre-conceptions and hot buttons.

PECULIARITIES of the various media channels: print, TV and radio. 

DAMAGE CONTROL: How to minimise damage during tough times.

TAKING CONTROL, ignoring questions to deliver what you really want to say. (We’ll also work on deciding what you really want to say and saying it in the most effective way.)


Express your interest with a quick call to Brett: 0414 713 802 or email us.

Some hot dates for you all you (marketing) lovers out there

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Our trainer-in-chief Brett de Hoedt has a few days to kill between upcoming interstate gigs. Idle hands are the devil’s playground so do everyone a favour and book Brett to deliver some of his glowingly-reviewed training in: copywriting, social media, website management, marketing, media relations, campaign planning, media interviews or presenting.

media and marketing training in brisbane

Brett is ready to fly. Ring-a-ding-ding.

You might just want to discuss a possibility with him face-to-face. Either way just call Brett on 0414 713 802. Booking Brett when he’s in the neighbourhood works out well for us, so we’ll make it especially good value for you. The main value of course is in the learning – fast, practical and rewarding.

Remember Brett is engaged by single organisations, groups that work together on an issue or project, groups gathered by peaks and professional bodies. Local governments, shires and volunteer resource centres often use Brett to deliver training to an assortment of community groups in one sitting.  He travels anywhere at anytime but these dates make particular sense right now:

Gold Coast: Friday June 6 from noon.

Brisbane: Thursday June 12.

Sydney: Tuesday September 2 and Wednesday September 3.

media training in adelaide

Wang Wang, Funi, meet Brett. Brett meet Wang Wang and Funi.

Adelaide: Thursday October 23. (Or maybe Brett could finally see the pandas!)

How to improve any piece of copywriting

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copywriting workshop for marketing

One day to boost your skills & expand your thinking.

Brett recently delivered our copywriting workshop, Copy Savvy to a posse from the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Few were formally trained in copywriting or communications but all wanted to be better writers as they write as part of their job for audiences internal and external.

copywriting tips

Cosmo writes good copy and utilises the first-guinea pig style.

At one point Brett excitedly declared: “You see – it’s not hard to dramatically improve your copywriting. Not hard.” Let’s see – here’s some of his advice for anyone wanting to simply improve their copywriting;

copywriting course


You don’t need to be a crack writer to implement any of these points so go forth and write good copy. If you think this can help anyone, please share it. Now go book yourself a place at Copy Savvy or book one for your whole team – anywhere, anytime.

Local government PR campaign planning

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Hootville Communications will help plan Baw Baw Shire Council’s walking and cycling promotion campaign. The health promotion work aims to get more Baw Baw locals living in the Victorian regional municipality ambulating without the help of motor vehicles.

health promotion campaign consultant

Already we have three early adopters. Bless 'em.

Already there’s an app in the offing and a promise of an “anything that works” approach to the campaign. Can we make the towns of Warragul, Drouin, Trafalgar et al the most walk- and ride-friendly locations in regional Australia? Let’s see.

To get us there we can envisage surveys, awards, league tables pitting town against town, school against school, learn how to walk videos…this should be fun. Step one is a workshop with the reference committee which is made up of interested people from far and wide, inside Council and without.

Celebrity Ambassadors: worth the fuss?

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choosing a celebrity ambassador

Frankly puppies this cute warrant media attention with or without a sports star sidekick.

One trick up the nonprofit marketer’s sleeve is the celebrity ambassador. Wrangle the right celeb and opportunities will open. That said, celebrity ambassadors or spokespeople are a mixed blessing and not to be engaged without serious consideration.

We’ve worked with a collection of celebrity ambassadors over the years and there’s no doubt it can make things happen and happen faster. When AFL star Joel Selwood agrees to hold a Seeing Eye Dog Australia puppy, the media (hard-bitten, cynical, news-hounds that they are) come running.

Probable positives of  a celebrity ambassador:

  • increased media interest;
  • broader media interest (suddenly FM breakfast radio or the sports section or Radio National breakfast becomes a possibility)
  • celebrity has networks in media and business to be leveraged;
  • celebrity may be a polished media performer.

Possible Negatives:

  • commitment is short-term;
  • celebrity supports other causes; is a gun for hire;
  • celebrity only supports your cause in lukewarm fashion;
  • celebrity supports incompatible commercial interests;
  • celebrity is not fully aware of the relevant issues;
  • celebrity comes to personifies issue, leaving you beholdent to them;
  • celebrity hasn’t got the IQ to get to grips with your issue;
  • supporting celebrity takes large amount of effort;
  • celebrity gets hypothetically caught in racecourse toilet with cocaine and wife;
  • celebrity cannot work within your structure / philosophy.


Some questions to ask before engaging anyone.

  • Is she a right fit with your cause?
  • What is she willing to do?
  • What is her motivation?
  • What does she require financially and logistically?
  • Are there skeletons in the closet? Is she long-term?
  • Is he dumb?
  • What will he achieve what you can’t?
  • Will she limit you in some ways? Does she not talk to certain media targets?
  • Will he polarise opinion?
  • Will he be able to recruit other celebrities?
  • Is she a “usual suspect” or “celeb for hire”?
  • Will he appeal to the unconverted but convertible?

The approach

Unless you have a genuine personal connection to the prospective ambassador you’re going to be in trouble. These people are in demand from neighbours, spouses, old school pals and local shopkeepers. Most celebs have minders in the form of PR flacks and managers. PR flacks care only about PR, managers only about their commission – and you ain’t representing any. So at least the publicist has something to gain.

celebrity ambassadors

One of the nicest, generous, professional people you'd ever want to meet.

As a Seven Network publicist Brett handled sports commentating one-name-brand Bruce McAvaney. “We’d sit across the desk and go through the mail – invitations, offers and requests. Dozens of them, weekly. Many of them offered financial opportunities – blue-chip corporates offering payment just for Bruce to attend a lunch and speak his mind on that week’s footy. Thousands. For lunch. Bruce being Bruce would usually pass as he needed to do his famous preparation. He was just too busy. And that’s for the easy, paying gigs. NFPs didn’t really stand a chance with any of the people we looked after.”

Approach the celebrity like you would a journalist when pitching a story – a quick call with written material at the ready. Stay positive, expect a wary, incurious response. Be ready to negotiate. Don’t be offended by over-protective advisors.

This may be one time to take no for an answer – if the celebrity isn’t interested it is unlikely that she will be effective for you.

Try and strike a balance between explaining what you see the the role entailing without being too specific. Can you ask for something low-intensity such as a voice over? This worked a treat when Eric Bana voiced a CSA for our client Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria.

pr advice ambassador

Geoff Huegill was a happy-go-lucky chap. Happy and alert.

Working on a project for the Telstra Dolphins in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics we had a media meltdown when the team’s stars – Thorpe, Riley, Kowalski, Huegill and co – toured the country holding swim clinics. Getting the ambassadors to do something they usually do is a good starting point.  It certainly eases an agent’s mind. Money also has this affect.

If you do engage a celebrity:

Don’t make your celebrity carry the burden of spreading your message. Use them as a special weapon.

Have them act as MC or entertainment. Shaun Micallef did a great job emceeing a Cerebral Palsy Support Network fund raiser we were part of but was unavailable for media beforehand. Opportunity lost.

Have them make a quick speech or to present a prize. Use their image, quote or signature. Have celebrities host tables at your next function. This may be a more natural role for the celebrity.

Consider paying them something even if it’s a lot to you and little to them. This investment changes the power dynamics and expectations.

Always put down what you expect from each other on paper.  It’s professional and avoids unhappiness later on.

Always support the celebrity with information, your bodily presence at any occasion and acknowledgement after the event. No matter what they say, they are used to a certain degree of pampering, flattering and chauffering. Many NFPs aren’t quite up to the challenge. Welcome to showbiz baby.

Found this helpful? Help someone else by sharing it.


The Monkey or the Envelope. The choice is yours.

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Hootville continues to invest its time and dollars in Facebook advertising. Generally the results are rather good by which we mean that we are paying a pleasingly low cost for each desired action we receive. A desired action might be for a viewer of the ad to click the Like button or click through to our website or engage with the Facebook post. In other words we are getting people to interact with the ad at a low cost.

social media copywriting advice

Will the red ink take us to black ink? (Accounting reference.)

For copywriters and marketers there’s a great deal of interest in uncovering the ads which get results and those which don’t. Rarely have copywriters and marketers been able to so scientifically alter a single variable and gauge the impact. There are three key variables with which one can play:

1. The ad itself. The creative – meaning the imagery, the copywriting, the fundamental proposition, the tone.

2. Audience demographics – age, location, interests, gender etc.

3. Deployment of the ad – will it show on mobile devices only, desktops only, in the Newsfeed or on the right hand side?

Each of these factors can vary the results. Sometimes what we think will work, works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Changing one factor at a time allows direct comparison. Let the games begin.

facebook advertising comparison

Who can resist monkeys doing human things? (We read his work BTW. Not much good - basically a rehash of Jungle Book.)

We’re promoting Copy Savvy 101 (in case you don’t know) so have been running Facebook ads. This week we created two different ads which we ran simultaneously. We kept the audience demographics and deployment the same for each but the two creative approaches were entirely different.

The audience we were targeting was people like you: 28-55, any sex, interests in marketing, nonprofits and / or small business, attractive, tertiary qualified, living in Victoria.

The ads ran on mobile devices in the Newsfeed only. The Envelope ad is based on a post we wrote long ago. We think that the image is quite strong and the copy rather clever and meaningful to copywriters. The Monkey ad was hoping to interest and disarm people with a cute image. The results were very different, so much so that we stopped running one a few days in.

OK – over to you. Which was more successful in gaining more clicks? Envelope or Monkey? Place your guess in the comments section below. Have a snap poll around the office. Alienate those which guess incorrectly. We’ll reveal the answer in 48hr.

Meanwhile read our recent Facebook advertising post, which explains more of the basics.

May 1: Winner revealed:

facebook advertising that works

May I have the envelope please...and the winner is...the envelope!

As you can see the Monkey should stick to writing right wing editorials for News Corp because he’s been outperformed by the envelope.  As an advertiser you want to minimise your cost per click. 41c fore the envelope vs $1.12 for the monkey? Which would you rather pay to have someone click on your Facebook ad? Our state-educated maths shows that the envelope was about 60% cheaper per click than the monkey. That’s huge. But why? Here’s our best guesses:

The envelope image was somewhat intriguing. The monkey was just silly.

The copy accompanying the envelope was clever and knowing. We’ve always taken a tone that assumes Hootville’s audiences to be savvy (somewhat cynical) professionals. The copy accompanying the monkey was straight; maybe too straight.

facebook CTR comparison

We've always said: if you pay peanuts you'll get a low CTR.

Complications: It’s easy to assume that a lower cost per click indicates a superior creative approach but the price you pay per click isn’t the best measure the effectiveness of your creative approach. Facebook has a dynamic pricing policy akin to an auction system so the price you pay is influenced by factors beyond the appeal of your ad. Other factors include the number of other advertisers also attempting to reach your audience and how much they are willing to pay. More competition = higher cost even for the same ad.

The click through rate (CTR) is the purest way to assess how appealing / effective your creative is. This measures the percentage of people who saw your ad and then – bless them – clicked on it. Let’s compare our two ads again. Less than one in 100 people (0.792%) clicked on the monkey ad (see above). The envelope proved much more appealing with a marked difference in its power over men (1.134%) and women (1.604%). That’s a whopping 40% difference between the sexes.

facebook CTR male and female

Men are from Mars, women click through more often.

Beyond ego gratification there’s another reason to aim for a higher CTR. The higher your CTR, the less you pay. Why? Facebook wants its ads clicked so it is more likely to show an ad with a high CTR for less money, to your audience, more often. Win / win. We’d love to hear of higher CTRs. And if you’ve gained from this post we’d love you to share it. Finally; if you’ve gained from this, please share it with some friends and be sure to subscribe to our email – the Hootville Lowdown.
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An open letter to the dying with dignity movement

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Note: this post is not arguing the merits of euthanasia. It is a letter from a sympathetic marketer with experience in the cause, written in frustration. No offence is intended. Comments on the campaigning aspects of euthanasia are welcome. This is not the place for comments on the rights or wrongs of euthanasia. Note also: whatever your issue – if it’s failing to gain traction – this is for you.

Dear Dying With Dignity Community,

Our position on the issue: we don’t know about you but we here at Hootville would like to die with minimal pain and suffering at a time of our choosing.

When the time comes (not before) and the medical options run out we want a legal guarantee that we will be offered a secure way out of our suffering. We don’t want to force this choice on anyone else but we sure as hell don’t want people we haven’t met, institutions we don’t believe in and politicians we didn’t vote for extension our misery. In short – we want voluntary euthanasia and wish you well in your ongoing struggle.

euthanasia campaign

We could have been a contender.

Declaration: a few years back Hootville worked with Dying With Dignity Victoria and a national coalition of similar organisations to help create the campaign which was the first national, co-ordinated campaign. It went OK but could have / should have achieved much more.

Since then we’ve watched the issue continue to be the single greatest under-performing social issue in Australia. Today’s media coverage of Dr Rodney Syme inspired us to pen this blog.


Dr Syme made headlines with his admission. He shouldn't need to.

We recall Dr Syme telling us that he was holding his declaration – that he provided a patient who later took his own life with the drug Nembutal – up his sleeve as a way to highlight the issue. We didn’t like the idea then, nor do we today. It may get this good man in a lot of hot water. It could see him imprisoned or de-registered as a doctor.

It’s time to admit failure on the campaigning front and adopt an entirely different approach, more akin to the way contemporary campaigns work.

We declare this sorry state of affairs based on your issue’s utter lack of progress, failure to establish any significant community-based support group, the absence of legal reforms, ballot-box political pressure or ongoing debate on the issue beyond scattershot media coverage.

Too harsh? Here’s a list of some groups / issues currently out-performing you:

  • live cattle;
  • puppies born in puppy farms;
  • asylum seekers;
  • transgendered people;
  • homosexuals;
  • the disabled;
  • victims of domestic violence;
  • the corral in the barrier reef;
  • farmers affected by fracking;
  • victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.

These groups are a laundry list of disenfranchised, under-resourced, abused, neglected and unorganised – yet each of them outperform you week-in, week-out in the battle for media space, barbeque discussions and political response. (See graph below.)

The status quo is unacceptable. How the hell can all these people / causes be out-campaigning you when you have all this on your side:

  • death currently affects 100% of humans;
  • people are terrified of a painful, helpless, lingering death;
  • almost everyone has a story of a loved one who dies in awful circumstances;
  • the attitudes of our newly ageing people are changing from passive and communal to demanding and individualistic;
  • media will always be interested in the issue;
  • Australia is extremely secular and the stocks of the church (a key opponent) has never been lower,
  • your proposal won’t cost any money;
  • euthanasia is already being unofficially practiced across hospital wards and nursing homes;
  • your alleged overwhelming public support?

This is a beautiful starting point. So how are you going win?

1. Stop thinking of yourselves as a law-reform issue. Who wants to get behind that? The reform will come when you become a campaign, a movement and a successful one at that. We have noticed that even our weak, conservative political class will make a move if you’ve got enough votes behind you. Campaigners shouldn’t wasting their time talking to pollies or doctors reform groups or the palliative care folk. Forget the private members’ bills in off-Broadway states. This isn’t a question of law – it’s a question of making the status quo a political liability. This is impossible without the threat of large batches of votes. The legal reforms will follow the social.

It’s time (for the first time) to really reach out to the entire population of the country of all classes – not the political class or the old communistas. The three million of us aged 65+ would be a good place to start but ageing affects everyone over 45 with parents. What a whopping target audience.

2. A grown-up, well-resourced, hardcore campaigning team is required. No empire builders. This team needs to be free of the people who failed to date. Get the right people and (mostly) go with their advice.

euthanasia campaign in nsw

Unlikely to inspire new supporters.

3. No wheel reinvention is required – just a great website, constantly updated, eMarketing, social media, surveys, media coverage, public events type campaign. That’s a lot of work by the way and even more work if it is to be done well.

4. Find the money. Anyone claiming that this cannot be afforded should read this next sentence. It could easily be afforded. Ask the public to crowd-fund $300,000 for a three year campaign and we daresay you’d get it.

5. Consider adopting the term euthanasia – it’s simpler and less twee. “Marriage equity” and “equal love” have never been as popular as “gay marriage”.

6. Be obsessed with numbers – of supporters, email subscribers, donors, followers. The more you have, the more you can do. How many years have you existed? How many people on your database? You should have 200,000+. Remember that there are 19 million adults in Australia.

how to market voluntary euthanasia

Even PETA has a lighter side.

7. Stop being so worthy. Campaigns about serious matters can still look good, have some wit and thus attract more people. Nobody wants to read drab, text-dense emails.  Even campaigners such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) which is hardcore as it comes, occasionally opts for the silly and the sexy.  Have some pride and panache – campaign as slickly as every other cause and consumer product. Lose the conferences and symposia – put that energy reaching NEW people.

8. Remember – your campaign must emphasise that euthanasia is all about the individual. In this case – letting the individual die without excruciating pain and meaningless, invasive undignified treatments when all hope is gone. No other product on the market can offer that. Have you noticed how entirely selfish and comfort-driven we have become as a society? How we fear and detest death? Guess what – these trends work in your favour – exploit it!

Forget talk of “civil rights” – that was America in the 1960s. We DO NOT HAVE any history of a civil rights movement the way the USA does. (Most of that country ain’t got euthanasia neither.) The term “human rights” is a turn-off. Do not use it. It hasn’t worked for the asylum seeker cause and it won’t work for you.

social marketing issues in Australia

Unscientific, subjective but pretty much accurate. Why do issues with such low relevance make so much impact? The secret is in the marketing.

9. Existing groups need to give up their state-based powerbases and unite. Forget the dreary websites, the lack of media connections, the uncohesive approach. The approach needs to be national. The more streamlined and cohesive the better. We’re sick of seeing good ideas and skills fail to spread.

10. Media is generally very sympathetic in its coverage of your issue but never ever allow a story like this one again. It made a Aina Ranke’s sympathetic case study less sympathetic. Ms Ranke speaking in the article:

“Tomorrow I have a Home Care lady who I adore. She is a beautiful young woman. She comes to clean and hang out my washing. And then she comes back a few hours later to bring the washing in. So what I plan is for it to be nice and quick and I will time the taking of it [the Nembutal].

“I will ask her what time she will be back and I will take the barbiturate in enough time, so that I can be deceased when she arrives,” said Ms Ranke.

Does the Home Care woman know of this plan? “No, I am not telling her. I have written her a note asking her if she can forgive me for having to find me in this predicament on her shift.

Those who left comments on the article did not like this idea at all. Even worse – the plan didn’t pan out as intended. Certainly not the image you wish to portray.

Note: since the original posting we have re-written point 10 to add clarity and lose the “loony left” phrase.  That was unhelpful.

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Copywriting advice: the devil is in the detail

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Some copywriting advice for scribes everywhere: the devil is in the detail.

copywriting advice

The magazine needs to place itself in our shoes.

Squiggle brought to our notice the advertisement for New Scientist magazine on the left. He was half way through renewing his subscription when he noted something missing. It’s a fairly important detail for a prospective purchaser, canine or human: the number of issues one receives in exchange for one’s money. Is it monthly or weekly; meaning 12 or 52 editions a year? Thus the cost per edition could range 400% or so – not conducive to sealing deals and very off-putting. Confusion creates friction and friction kills conversion.

Unfortunately nonprofits perform far worse than corporates in this regard. We are constantly flabbergasted at how few nonprofits provide sufficient detail for prospective clients, customers, volunteers et al.

copywriting advice

New Scientist has chronicled Squiggle's search for the elusive Higgs Boneson particle for years. It's often referred to as the "Dog particle".

Here’s something you can do right now to assess your copywriting performance: look at the program / services pages of your website and see if readers told about:

Cost? (We constantly note that free services fail to mention that they are free!) How can I pay – upfront, installments? What about discounts?


Timings and structure of services. (Six 90m meetings with a maximum of 12 people over 10 weeks etc). We often see start times without a stated end time – this can be vital for those with other responsibilities or needing to arrange a lift. Simple concerns can be addressed via straightforward details.

Application process (do I need to be referred from my GP or do I just turn up?) How am I informed that I can attend / participate?

Who the service is designed for? (Is this something for unemployed men aged over 50 like me or is it for people I hate?)

The telephone number I need for more details?

Parking & transport details – how do I get there?

What exactly happens at the service? Will I be taken aside for a long induction process? Will I be introduced to anyone? How does this work? NEVER underestimate how introverted people are. We don’t put ourselves in strange situations willingly. Make your situation less strange via lot of detail.

copywriting workshops in melbourne

One day to boost your skills and expand your horizons.

Fill in these details and you’re on your way to a better website, better SEO and fewer grumpy, confused readers. Imagine how much better your copy could be if you attended Copy Savvy 101 June 17?

Find out how a guinea pig embodies good copywriting.


Reading list April 23, 2014

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Semi-regularly we gather together a collection of worthwhile marketing-related reading material. Consider it a mixed bag of lollies for your mind. Enjoy.

We’re guessing that a Sunday paper conducting a hatchet job on your charity would be your worst nightmare. Well this charity discovered that the ending can be a happy one – and financially rewarding. As in 1000%+ rewarding.

Singapore tourism commercial

You'll wish they never met.

Many fundraisers and business developers invest time taking people on tours of their operations. This is a guide as to how to do it well.

If you enjoy reading our thoughts we suggest you add some of these 50 marketing blogs to your daily investment in professional development. We read them all daily. Honestly.

Gosh, for such a sophisticated nation Singapore really does churn out some cringe-worthy tourism and government commercials.

And just because this is such a cool way to end an interview. This is a treat and takes exactly 20 seconds.

F%$* the Poor. When should you opt to shock?

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A few recent nonprofit marketing campaigns have given us pause to consider: is it best to gain attention even if it means losing a few delicate souls? Or is it wiser to tread carefully and continue to gently court favour from your audiences?

Both approaches have merit, though the conservative approach is in the overwhelming majority. Why? Because people in charge are terrified of offending people. They don’t want to stand out, make enemies or create headaches. Courage in the nonprofit marketing world is in short supply. Those in charge shy away from approaches deemed too intense, confronting, high-falutin or divisive.

fuck the porr campaign

We swear this billboard is in a good cause.

The good folk at UK’s Pilion Trust are made of sterner stuff and partnered with mega-global communications giant Publicis to create a video destined for controversy  – and lots of free media coverage.

Faced with typical nonprofit marketing restrictions; small budget, unsexy cause, no celebrity support and a crowded marketplace, Pilion Trust flicked the switch to ‘shock’ with its F#$@ the Poor video. Behind the swearing is a clever concept or premise: people offended by bigotry towards the poor; who claim to advocate for them; who challenge the sign-wearer were also very slow to lend financial assistance when politely asked. In other words – talk is cheap; put your money where your mouth is.

Were people offended when the video was released. Yep. But who cares? As Savvas Panas, the chief executive of the Pilion Trust, said: “We understand that some may be shocked by this footage. We are more offended however, that people across the United Kingdom are living in adverse poverty.” Nice line.

social marketing campaigns

There it is in black, white and red. Deal with it.

The Every Australian Counts campaign didn’t hold back when it released this message via social media and beyond. No swearing, but no punches pulled either.

Some thoughts on a good campaign:

1. No attention = no impact. It’s that simple – if you don’t grab the attention of all those busy, bored, self-interested,  Facebooking, fast-food dining, tired and dispassionate souls out there you will stand no chance to win them over with your carefully crafted messaging and heart-lifting imagery. Of course impact needn’t be created by hard-hitting approaches. Humour and absurdity make an impact too – though it’s far harder to get right.

Social marketing campaign

High-concept but heart-breaking.

2. Hard-hitting / high concept campaigns get to more people via the media coverage they inspire, than via the channels of the actual campaign. That’s a HUGE boost to your bottom line and campaign reach. How much is a page 8 pic and story worth to you? What if the coverage is similar to that given to Save the Children UK’s latest (stupendous) effort?

3. You win some, you lose some. Any true supporter will overlook their offence. Those who sever ties over some offensive word, nudity or an approach weren’t real supporters to begin with. Your chief concern should be igniting the supporter base which will otherwise sit dormant. Beyond that you want to pique the interest of new folk.

4. Put complaints in perspective. Nonprofits are v ery sensitive to criticism from stakeholders and the public. If you ever get the chance to unleash a campaign that is likely to cause a stir, have an understanding that a few negative comments is just that – a few negative comments. The I Wish I Had Breast Cancer campaign surely upset thousands.

Live export eMarketing campaign

Tough to look at. Tough to ignore?

5. Change hurts. Going from business-as-usual marketing to hard-hitting or confronting is not easy. The reason for your change in approach may have to be explained to your tried and trusted supporters, especially the V.I.Ps.

6. Consistency matters: A bad-assed campaign belongs to a bad-assed nonprofit. If you can’t deliver on the tone you set, don’t assume the tone. Animals Australia (on the left) hits hard but that’s exactly what we expect from them. BTW please spend 2m to support the campaign here.


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