Saving Lives
At Sea

Leveraging a BBC television mass audience with a social and OOH brand awareness campaign

The challenge

Following an internal transformation, the RNLI wanted to re-frame itself as a more ‘relevant’ charity that can impact everyone’s lives, not just fishermen and Rotary Club yacht owners.

The RNLI always knew that a TV presence would be a key driver for both prompted and unprompted awareness, and were therefore delighted when the BBC decided to run a 6 week summer programming in 2016, detailing the rescue missions of the RNLI (999 style).

Knowing that BBC 1 has an average reach for these broadcast spots of 5.9 million, the RNLI wanted to maximise this opportunity to increase brand awareness.

Our initial brief was simple – leverage the programme as a platform to generate awareness with new audiences – and create a ‘buzz’.

The BBC had moved Saving Lives at Sea to BBC2 and extended the program to 12 weeks running time. We used this opportunity to take our audience on a longer tail journey; educating, informing and engaging them with rich interactive content whilst demonstrating the full breadth of RNLI and bringing to life everything they do #BeyondTheRescue.

Our approach

During the first series, our strategy was led by social and OOH. And we saw the RNLI receive an increase in 120,000 social fans and a campaign highlight was our video receiving 7m YouTube hits. The YouGov founder also quoted “The RNLI can be satisfied with its marketing efforts this summer; making quite a dent in the public consciousness.”

When the BBC ran a second series, our approach reflected the RNLI’s brand campaign strategy of increasing awareness of the charity #BeyondTheRescue – we knew that the buzz of compelling footage and case studies may give us leverage to extend the conversation – therefore not only connecting our target audience of considered altruists to our cause, but also educating them about the breadth of relevance the RNLI has and therefore increasing belief in the cause.

We used hyper targeted messaging and audience profiles on social media to support this strategy. With the RNLI we mapped out the 12 weeks of the campaign against theme development, and then aligned with channel opportunities and audience ‘moments’.

Execution and delivery

Facebook was split into 3 streams of Awareness, Performance and Action – with different messaging being delivered each week, and a re-targeting on lookalike engagement being applied.

Twitter was used to trail a ‘Promoted Poll’ to allow for further content generation and to support our awareness campaign of ‘You won’t believe what else the RNLI do.’

Finally, OOH digital 6 sheets were utilised as a wider awareness brand message, in key dwell areas for the last 4 weeks of campaign (latter stages being budget-led but also with the purpose of pre-buzz results to be tracked based on targeted messaging as opposed to ‘generic’).

We also supported the RNLI in creation and delivery of content and assets for their own organic streams of content and community social support (i.e. Live videos and real time programme engagement).