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Oxfam: Film4 a strange choice

Bobby Ghayouri

Oxfam crisis appeals are emotive and always emphasise a sense of urgency. Filmed with a news story feel, the presenter summarises the work that they’re doing within the first 10 seconds. This acts as a hook to the audience, who become engaged and interested to see what the ‘life saving supplies’ are, and why they are needed.

The talking head then outlines the gravity of the situation and explains what the viewer at home can do to help and where their money will be spent. These basic items are specifically chosen to highlight the fact that in the west, we take these things for granted; taps, buckets, hygiene packs. This makes the ask more powerful.

The final close is strong, with a ‘We need to act now’ message, urging the viewer not to ‘wait until it’s too late.’

The Ethiopia Crisis campaign is a very strong example of a great response ad. The text message shortcode and donation ask amount is on screen throughout the 60 second advert. Key phrases and words are highlighted on screen to maximise potential for an immediate response. The donation amount requested is low in order to maximise first response, with the potential to increase this ask with a follow up call. The story is captivating, and delivered in a trustworthy manner, outlining the problem, and what the viewer can do to help.

Even with this strong text call to action, the campaign delivers a cost per website visit of under £3, which whilst good news for donations, will be difficult to analyse on a station by station level, without the right analysis technology underpinning the campaign.

Channel 4 and Sky have received around 80% of the impacts from June 2015 to January 2016, to the detriment of many of the smaller sales houses which we know deliver amongst the best response rates. This was turned around in February for a more balanced campaign of 65% Sky and C4, which would have inevitably improved campaign performance.

One oddity is the lead station being Film4. As the lead station, one would assume that Film4 would have its own text shortcode to verify this high spend, but it does not, which feels like an oversight. Our own data indicates that within the charity sector, stations like Alibi, Really, Good Food, Watch and Home perform considerably better, and in this case could have been upweighted to deliver a more effective campaign for Oxfam.

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