Print power aids our charities

Creating campaigns that make readers stop and think can be challenging. Two charities prove it can be done with powerful emotional appeals through print creative.

CB_Charities_DIGITALCreating print ads for charities can be challenging. Raising awareness and provoking discussion about confronting issues in a way that encourages readers to keep reading instead of turning the page is not easy. If done correctly, charities can find an attentive and generous audience through newspaper advertising.

Two charities – The Starlight Foundation and The Smith Family – have used different campaign strategies to successfully draw attention to their respective causes. Both ads used strongly emotive appeals, making use of very different emotional triggers.

The Smith Family

The Smith Family creative uses negative emotions, with a stark image of a child separated from other schoolchildren in the playground by a large crevasse.  This evocative visual represents the danger that faces 638,000 disadvantaged children in Australia who cannot access the learning support other children receive. The creative contains a small, subtle logo for the charity and a call to action via telephone and online at the base.

The Starlight Foundation

The Starlight Foundation takes a different strategy, using positive emotions to highlight their cause. This colourful creative is upbeat, showing a smiling child painting with Captain Starlight. The ad highlights the work that The Starlight Foundation does to entertain young children who spend a large amount of time in hospital. It’s a fun creative that uses eye-catching brand colours to standout from other ads.

CB_Charities_SmithFamily CB_Charities_Starlight


The Smith Family performed strongly in terms of being eye-catching, with readers appreciating the solemn tone of striking image and stark use of colour. The arresting image drives memorability and encourages readers to tell friends and family about the cause. Some struggled to see who the ad was for, so prominent branding may benefit future campaigns.

The Starlight Foundation’s upbeat campaign resonated with readers. Its fun use of colour and imagery encouraged readers into action. The ad’s use of social media and web information encouraged web-search.

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by The Newspaper Works, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.


Both ads significantly outperformed other charity ads in terms of driving affinity with the charity. Thirty eight per cent of respondents said The Smith Family ad gave them a good feeling about the charity.

“It made me sympathise with these kids. Imagining cold children who aren’t getting the education they deserve.”

The Starlight Foundation’s colourful and uplifting image drove an even stronger affinity score with one in two respondents (50%) saying the ad highlighted the good work done by this charity in a positive way.

“It was a touching reminder to give something to those children going through tough times, a positive reminder with a great photo. This ad made me smile and think about what great work these people do to help children get through difficulties.”

In terms of driving public agenda, both ads scored on point with the charity advertising norms, with 56% of the Starlight Foundation readers and 59% of of the Smith Family readers saying the ad highlights an important feature in society.


Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.


The different approaches to advertising to these two worthy causes elicited different actions from readers.

The Starlight Foundation ad, which made use of a more positive emotional state, was more likely to encourage web-search (21%) than the Smith Family ad (15%). This was driven by the use of social media prompts within the call-to-action footer.

The Smith Family ad, which used a starker emotional approach, had a more personal impact. It was more likely to encourage talkability with one in four (25%) readers saying they would tell a friend or family about the ad compared to 15% of readers who said the same of The Starlight Foundation creative.

Both ads were particularly successful in driving awareness of their respective causes. Some 29 per cent of Starlight Foundation ad readers and 25% of The Smith Family ad readers said they would remember the ad later.

Both ads were perceived by many readers to be compelling enough to encourage new donations or drive continued donations.

“This ad [Starlight Foundation] is very lively and brings to light the challenges being faced by little children. Once you read the ad, it will be very hard to resist making a donation to support them”

“I thought the ad [Smith Family] was well written, the image of the child was particularly attention grabbing. It resounded with me as I have sponsored a child with the Smith Family for the past 20 years, and it made me feel that I am helping children like this.”


The ADvance creative benchmarking programme includes an analysis tool designed specifically for government and charity ads called The InfoMap. This map sheds more light on reader perceptions on ad categories that fall outside of traditional commercial advertising.


The InfoMap shows that both creative were successful in driving important reader perceptions.

One in two readers said that both creative executions were attention grabbing (45% for The Smith Family and 47% for The Starlight Foundation). Both ads were also successful in terms of providing important information (44% for The Smith Family & 41% for The Starlight Foundation). The Starlight Foundation ad was seen to be more imaginative (31%) than The Smith Family creative (22%).

As expected the Smith Family ad was seen to be more confronting (30%) than the more light-hearted Starlight Foundation campaign (11%).

Newspaper Creative Diagnostics


The Starlight Foundation performed even better across a range of diagnostics. The ad also scored well in terms of imagery (53%) and being eye-catching (51%). The use of an uplifting image framed by bright colours was received well by readers, with 46% of viewers saying the ad looked good, 17% higher than the charity ad average.

“The ad appeals to all people, and would convince many to find out or make a donation to the starlight children’s foundation. Its colours, imagery and simple language also make it a memorable ad.”

Research conducted online by Ipsos Media CT. Fieldwork conducted August 4th – August 15th 2014. Sample aged 16+, n = 106 for The Starlight Foundation, n = 106 for The Smith Family. Separate samples tested for each ad. Full details of methodology, Role Map and Action Map available on



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