Submitted by: Rachel Aldighieri 31/03/2016
Harrison is an eight-year-old boy dying from a disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which affects around one in 3,600 boys. Harrison’s Fund is a charity set up to raise money to fund the research that might buy him some time. Up against high-profile charities with big budgets, the organisation knew it needed to raise awareness of the plight of children with DMD in an innovative way. With one simple print advert, Harrison’s Fund managed to generate huge attention and debate around the world, as well as all-important donations.
You would think that raising money to save dying kids would be relatively easy. But in the UK, more people choose to give their hard earned money to charities that care for animals. The team wondered if it would actually be easier to raise money for Harrison if he were a dog. And by drawing public attention to this prioritisation of animal welfare over human care, the campaign aimed to stir awareness and debate that would lead to change in behaviour.
Two online adverts, identical in every way bar the image, were run on the same media network with the same weighting. One showed Harrison; the other a picture of a dog taken from the internet. Of the 350,757 impressions, Harrison’s advert received 111 clicks compared to 230 for the dog.
So when some free space became available in the London Evening Standard, the team ran a press ad asking ‘would you give £5 to help save Harrison from a slow and painful death?’ with the dog’s image. The ad copy explained that this dog wasn’t actually Harrison and went on to tell the story of the boy with DMD.