Our media coursework is about advertising for charities in both newspapers and on the television. Our task is to decide upon a charity we wish to advertise for, research it and chose a suitable newspaper and television channel (and time) to advertise on. We then have to design an advert to put in the newspaper and make a storyboard for a television advert. On our first lesson we were assigned groups to work in. I was put into a group with Kyle, Harry, Gemma, and James.
We were a fairly varied group as to our talents, tastes and friendship groups, which helped us to see lots of angles on the appeal. Harry and myself are both talented in technical subjects but don’t tend to excel in the creative subjects, this is good because we can see the technicalities of making an advert and are good at research. Kyle, Gemma, and James are all very artistically talented, this means that they can help a lot in the aesthetics of the advert and the impact it will have on the viewers. I was very pleased with the group I was assigned to because of the variety of talents within it and the fact that we all get along and work together very well.
After we had been assigned to groups we began to decide which charity we wished to advertise for. This was very difficult because we all had different charities that meant something to us personally. The decision took us a long time but we decided to do the Red Cross because it was an international charity, which did lots of work our whole group had heard about. We also thought it was particularly relevant at this time because of the present situation in Afghanistan. However later on in the project we hit a dead end with our charity because we couldn’t decide upon a design for our advert and had no clear ideas as to the direction we wanted to take. Our group had a disagreement and couldn’t form one idea to use so we decided that the charity wasn’t right for us. After a large group debate we decided to change our charity to the NSPCC because this was closer to home and also focused more on people nearer to our age group.
We then set about researching the charity and trying to decide which newspaper we wanted to advertise in. This caused us some problems because our first thought was that we would advertise in a broadsheet such as The Times or The Telegraph because we thought that the target audience for these papers were the middle to upper classes, whom were likely to have more money than the readers of tabloid newspapers such as The Sun. Although this is true we found that the broadsheet newspapers did not take charity adverts as often as more middle of the road papers like The Daily Mail.
We decided to telephone several newspapers and see which ones took charity adverts on a regular basis. Our findings from this followed our other research and we found that if we advertised in The Daily Mail we were likely to raise the largest amount of money. This is because it is a paper with a wide audience across all the classes of society and that we were most likely to get a good response for whichever charity we were advertising for. This is because there are such a variety of readers that we were likely to hit a soft spot in a large amount of people whichever charity it was.
After doing all this we turned our attention to the television advertisement and when it would be best to advertise on television. Since the BBC does not take adverts our choice of television channels was narrowed down, unless we wanted to advertise on satellite, cable, or digital television. We looked at possible openings on ITV and channel 4 to see when we would have a large audience interested in charity campaigns and watched to see if any other charities advertised at these times. We found that the most promising times were before or after the news because there is a large audience at that time and people are thinking about things that are happening all over the world, and during Countdown because there is also a wide audience and these are often older people who think about what is happening to other people and who have more disposable income that younger people who have families to raise.
It was here that we decided to change charities. I think this was a good decision because from then on we worked at a rapid pace to catch up with the other groups in our class. We thought that the newspaper and television times would work just as well with our new charity so we went on to thinking about our actual design for the advert. We had more problems with this because we couldn’t focus our ideas so we thought that it would be good to go on to the TV advert and when we had finished this modify one of the images in it to fit the newspaper ad. We had a lot more success with this and even wrote our own song to go over the top. We thought it would be good to make the ad very simple and slow so that it would have more impact on the viewers. We decided to make it black and white so it was easy to digest and keep it as a series of images rather than a film.
We thought that the words we had written should be sung by children to enforce the image of harm to children, as this is often a weak spot in people. We also decided to make the voices echoing and have a church like accompaniment of hollow sounding chimes to send shivers down our viewer’s spines and also to put an image in their subconscious of death as many people relate churches to death and funerals. While this was going on we had images of children in distress with some distressing stories we had downloaded from the NSPCC website. After showing three images to create sympathy in our viewers we then had a completely black screen with a white stop sign in and some information about haw to donate.
We did this for two reasons, one was because the NSPCC’s motto is, “help us put a full STOP to child cruelty” so using the word stop at the end of the advert is in keeping with the aims of the charity, and two because it has impact and is a direct command so it does make people stop and take notice. We also had it going completely silent when the last screen appeared because this reiterates the message of stopping and is in keeping with the words of our song.
To aid us in our decisions we watched several other charity appeals and found that the best ones were simple and to the point, but still made you feel sorry for the people or animals, which were suffering in the adverts. We watched one for an animal charity, which included a big shock or twist to make you pay attention to them. We thought this idea was good so we tried to recreate it in our last screen, which would cause slight shock, as it was sudden, and make people pay attention to our message. We also saw a Red Cross advert which was just a series of images, this had a real impact on us and influenced us in how our advert worked. We used this as the basis of the structure of our advert because we also used a series of disturbing images.