Tag Archive for charity

Feet-up Friday!

Simon's fancy footwear!

Simon’s fancy footwear!

We are a charitable bunch here at Acceleris and last week saw us get in the festive spirit to raise money for UK housing and homelessness charity Shelter.

The #SlippersforShelter campaign aims to support children and their families facing homelessness this Christmas and as we work in both the housing and charity sectors, it seemed like a good idea to get behind the campaign.

The fundraising began on cue with an in-house pool tournament organised by our resident housing specialist, Simon Baylis. The rules were simple – or so we thought. Each participant was ranked on their pool ability from 1-10 and knockout matches were drawn by an independent adjudicator.

Despite intense competition and some controversial tactics from certain players, the tournament resulted in a final three-way play-off.

Alex and Rebecca

Quiz winners Alex and Rebecca

However it was Alex Whitaker’s calm, composed display in the final which saw him crowned champion in the Crucible. He earned himself the coveted grand-prize (and some fantastically festive footwear).

Alongside the drama of the balls and pockets, we also organised fundraising quizzes for clients, suppliers and staff. These tested our musical knowledge and our ability to identify flags, films and fish. Once again Renaissance man Alex triumphed alongside quiz partner Rebecca Jackson.

 

The main event however, was the novelty of wearing slippers around the workplace as we uploaded our ‘slipper selfies’ on Twitter. Last year, Shelter documented over 400 photos and – we sought to better this all by ourselves!

 

The 2015 prize for ‘Most Homemade Effort’ went to Simon Baylis for his creation and elsewhere, bells jingled and tinsel glistened underfoot as the tweets flew out on social media.

 

At the end of the day, we had managed to raise an impressive £170 (and nine pence) for Shelter!

Thank you to everyone who took part and helped support an incredible charity whose campaign is giving hope to those without a home this Christmas.

Fancy footwear on display

Fancy footwear on display

 

Mog vs #ManOnTheMoon

It’s that time of year again when we all come together to give our two pence worth on a contest to determine who comes out on top at Christmas – no, not the X Factor or I’m a Celeb – it is, of course, the battle of the Christmas adverts.

It’s a relatively new festive tradition that has seen increased public interest in the last few years, but the inventiveness and messaging behind the adverts causes excitement and shows the power advertising still holds in terms of reaching target audiences and positioning the brand favourably at the busiest time of the year for retailers.

This year’s head to head sees the offerings #ManOnTheMoon from John Lewis and beloved children’s literary character Mog the Cat come to life in Sainsbury’s advert (for Generation Adblock who may not have seen them yet, links to the adverts below), continuing the contest from last year when John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin faced off against Sainsbury’s depiction of Christmas in the trenches. So, how do they compare?

#ManOnTheMoon:

John Lewis certainly loves pulling at the heartstrings in its campaigns, and this year is no different. The spirit of giving and sharing with those less fortunate or who have nobody is the main theme and done in a very creative way. The social media frenzy that followed the advert’s launch shows how effective the brand is at getting tongues wagging (22,429 tweets and retweets in the first hour of mostly positive sentiment). John Lewis has also launched an app in conjunction with the advert to help countdown the phases of the moon until Christmas – this year will be the first full moon on Christmas day since 1977 – a nice touch. Oh, you can also buy the little girl’s telescope from the retailer too.

However, did you know that the advert was made in association with Age UK in a bid to tackle loneliness this Christmas? Probably not. The advert certainly doesn’t mention it and the webpage http://www.johnlewis.com/christmas-advert doesn’t reference Age UK until you’ve scrolled halfway down. So, by isolating the charity from the campaign, isn’t John Lewis really doing the opposite of what it’s supposed to be encouraging others to do?

Mog’s Christmas Calamity:

Ah, Mog! A perennial figure in my childhood (I was born in 1992) and I’m sure many others will say the same – with the exception of Account Manager Jack Williams who had absolutely no clue about Mog or the books! The advert depicts Mog’s Christmas and sees the mischievous cat causing, and subsequently rescuing the family from, a fire on Christmas Day.

With Christmas seemingly ruined, the family head back into their fire-damaged house only for their neighbours to join them in restoring the house and preparing a new Christmas dinner all in time for lunch! ‘Christmas is for sharing’ flashes across the screen in the final scene, followed by ‘Sainsbury’s – Supporting child literacy with Save the Children’ and the point of the advert becomes clear. Sainsbury’s is proud to state its partnership with the charity and by recreating a well-loved feel-good Christmas story, draws the viewer in. The book ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ was specially written for the campaign and can be bought at Sainsbury’s along with cuddly toys of the cat with all profits going towards Save the Children’s child literacy programmes.

The verdict:

Winner – Sainsbury’s

Although John Lewis’ advert is very well-made and more of an integrated campaign than Sainsbury’s, I can’t help but feel it misses the point it’s supposed to be putting forward by placing its own agenda above its partner’s. Sainsbury’s ad however has a really uplifting feel and is very clear in its support of charity, without making the mistake of potentially trivialising serious events by trying to directly sell any products, as it did last year with its wartime chocolate. Besides, John Lewis should have left ‘Half the World Away’ alone.

Stilettos, sea views and six packs – all in the name of charity

Last week we signed up as corporate members of Charity Comms a networking site for communications professionals working for some of the UK’s leading charities.

We are pleased to support the organisation which is an excellent hub for case studies and best practice with more than 4,000 members.

At Acceleris we have worked with charities large and small for a number of years to deliver creative and effective campaigns. In my time this has included organising peaceful protests in the streets of Leeds, dressing up in chicken costumes, and re-recording an Elton John classic – all for a good cause.

It’s been a busy few months for our charity team:

We organise a yearly fashion show for the Prince's Trust which is always a huge success

We organise a yearly fashion show for the Prince’s Trust which is always a huge success

We helped publicise a fundraising fashion show for the Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire and the Humber. Held at the National Railway Museum in York, the event raised in excess of £90,000 to support the charity’s work with young people.

We organised a national photography competition to find the UK’s best sea view for longstanding client the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.The competition received 456 entries and generated widespread national media coverage including several full page splashes (sorry).

Ex-Royal Marine, Rich McKeating approached us to help raise £100,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The campaign ‘Titan Force Trip to Ripped’, will see twenty young men transformed to their ripped best in just six months, for a fundraising calendar (our offer to feature in the calendar was declined for obvious reasons).

We’ve also written our first book to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Alfred Seafarers Society.

Communication is important for every business and organisation but given the high profile and emotive work of many charities, clear and effective communications are integral to their success.

We’re also keenly aware just how tight budgets can be in the sector so we’re careful to make every penny spent on comms go as far as possible (as you’d expect with our Yorkshire roots!)

I am looking forward to being a Charity Comms member and getting involved in discussions, learning from fellow communications professionals and sharing our experience.

Find out more here: http://www.acceleris-mc.com/sectors_charity.htm

We;re currently working with former marine, Rich McKeating, on a project for Teenage Cancer Trust

We’re currently working with former marine, Rich McKeating, on a project for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Bake a Cake, for Charity’s Sake!

Every year since 1990, Macmillan has been holding national coffee mornings where people are invited to get together, bake and raise money to support those facing cancer.

This month, we decided to join in and host our very own Macmillan coffee morning. There was much excitement and anticipation amongst the team as cake never lasts long in our office!

The whole team pledged to have a go at whipping up a sweet or savoury treat for the day and the results were incredible….

The Acceleris office has a lot of closet bakers!

The Acceleris office has a lot of closet bakers!

Who knew how many secret bakers we had in our midst!

We invited local suppliers and clients to the event which provided a great opportunity for an informal catch up and also to show off our new games room, complete with pool table, table tennis and even a dart board.

Cake in hand, and a couple of rounds of darts and we were all having a great time. As a PR agency creativity is obviously key to what we do and the games room not only allows us to relax, but is also a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Just some suggestions for our new brainstorming nook include idea ping pong – batting strategies back and forth, both metaphorically as well as physically – who knows what future campaigns will be born out of this room!
Games Room 1

Given the popularity of everyone’s favourite Wednesday show, The Great British Bake Off, there was inevitably going to be a competitive side to proceedings at Acceleris. All the homemade fare on offer was sampled by our independent judge – our Chairman, Nigel Howes – who announced the sweet and savoury star bakers. In his words, “It was a very tough call” but there could only be one winner in each category. Account Executive, Dan, took the gold star in savoury with his wonderful sausage rolls, and Company Secretary, Alison, struck gold in the sweet with her plum and almond cake.

Some of the treats on the judge's plate!

Some of the treats on the judge’s plate!

The main aim of the day was to raise money for a fantastic cause, and in the spirit of Macmillan Coffee Mornings, to have a little fun doing it.

So, drum roll please… so far we have raised £366.98 (and counting)! A big thank you goes out to all of our clients and suppliers who generously donated, and also to everyone at the agency for their hard work and kindness.
Montage

Supporting charitable pursuits is something which is close to all our hearts at Acceleris and as an agency we have worked with a number of third sector groups, including maritime charities The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Seafarers UK and The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, Leeds based children’s cancer charity Candlelighters, The Prince’s Trust and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. For more information on the services we provide, please visit our website http://www.acceleris-mc.com.