The brief

Polymedia had an established relationship with Help for Heroes, having successfully delivered a campaign around the charity’s Bake for Heroes fundraising drive earlier in 2017.

H4H returned to Polymedia with a very specific brief ahead of the charity’s 10th birthday. This was an awareness campaign, not a fundraiser, with very clear goals:

  1. To engage audiences to broaden H4H’s funnel of consideration and intent to donate
  2. To underline the continued relevance of the work H4H does despite the lack of daily war headlines
  3. To reinforce the number of people who are still in need of support
  4. To encapsulate and communicate the essence of the charity and the ongoing need for H4H’s work
  5. To reinforce the critical importance of people and relationships in every aspect of the charity

The over-arching aim of the campaign was to bring H4H supporters closer than ever to beneficiaries through an emotive, positive, and uplifting campaign designed to maximise ROI through premium content for a number of owned and earned platforms. An audience reach target of 900,000 views or opportunities to see was set by Help for Heroes.

Because of time pressures and limited window of opportunity in H4H’s busy social media schedule, the campaign, from go-ahead to launch, would need to be completed in just five weeks.


The concept – Facing it Together

Polymedia identified the need for supporters and potential supporters of H4H to reconnect with the charity, reinforcing the reasons for its existence and making the connection between the “pound in the bucket” and the direct benefits that fundraising has on those who receive the charity’s support.

The concept, named Facing it Together, was simple – Polymedia put fundraisers or supporters and beneficiaries together, face-to-face, and encouraged them to talk on film.

Originally proposing a one-day video shoot with 3–4 couples, this was eventually increased to a more ambitious two-day shoot with six pairings to get variety of interviewees and benefit from economies of scale.

For each couple, Polymedia produced:

  • premium quality photographs showing each pairing face-to-face and also interacting with each other
  • in-depth written feature on each individual
  • video of their conversation
  • press release to announce each pairing

The focus was on emotion, interaction and engagement, demonstrating the ongoing need for the support Help for Heroes offers.

To further add impact, relevance and credibility to the campaign, Polymedia sourced award-winning former Royal Navy photographer Sean Clee to produce the evocative images and add another dimension to the campaign.


Delivery of the campaign

The primary output of the project was video and written content for the H4H website. However, media was a key offshoot of this. Polymedia carefully planned an integrated approach to delivery of the campaign so that it worked across a number of platforms:

  • Help for Heroes website
  • social media
  • national media
  • specialist media
  • regional media


Si and Tempy capture the hearts of the nation

The video shoot and editing process resulted in six very different case studies full of laughter, tears and poignant moments as H4H beneficiaries spoke about how the charity had helped them with issues ranging from physical disability to mental health struggles.

All six were very strong films, but one stood out – the pairing of five-year-old Tempy Pattinson with Iraq war veteran Si Brown. Si, severely disfigured by a sniper’s bullet which just missed his eye, chatted to Tempy about her fundraising triathlon in aid of Help for Heroes.

Although the challenges they faced were very different, by the end of the film Si and Tempy had described each other as heroes, ending with an emotional fist bump.

The heartwarming, emotional and tear-jerking video was viewed more than 50,000 times within hours of gojng live on the Help for Heroes website and Facebook page, and the number of shares and the nature of the comments online showed how well people were engaging with the film.

The media rollout began early the next morning, with coverage swiftly achieved in The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. Crucially, these national news outlets hosted the video on their own social media pages, reaching millions of users.

Soon, major social media players including UNILAD and LADBible were approaching Polymedia to ask for the content.

By the end of the day, Si and Tempy’s film had been viewed more than 2 million times and they were national news with broadcast journalists clamouring to follow up.

Regional radio BBC Radio Tees, BBC Radio Leeds and ITV Tyne Tees were first to bite but the big hit on launch day came from ITN. Tempy and Si were both interviewed for an “and finally…” piece on ITV evening news and News at 10, viewed by an estimated 4.8million viewers.

Daytime TV followed as Polymedia secured a live slot on the couch for Si and Tempy with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on This Morning – reaching a further 1.2million viewers.

The appearance on This Morning sparked another flurry of media coverage with Mail Online, Hello, OK, The Sun and Entertainment Daily all following up to reach their own audiences. Views on social media were by now being measured in the tens of millions. 


Keeping up the momentum

The extraordinary success of Si and Tempy’s film proved to be a huge positive as Polymedia rolled out the rest of the videos over the coming week. The huge level of interest in Facing it Together saw widespread coverage for the follow-ups.

The next film featured serving soldier Jo Hursey, who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following near-death experiences in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, chatting with Matthew Bamber, who hiked for 50 miles with a fridge strapped to his back in aid of H4H. Their story earned coverage in The Sun, Daily Mirror and regional press.

The story of Olivia Cox, whose boyfriend was killed in Afghanistan, meeting H4H beneficiary Harry Jones, discharged from the Army due to mental health problems, was a hit on Mail Online, reaching its 200m monthly readers.

Further videos reached ITV audiences and had a strong presence in their relevant regional media. Polymedia also made good use of the niche specialist press – for instance, securing a piece in Dogs Monthly for one of the films, which featured husky dogs used as therapy for veterans.


Campaign impact

The campaign far surpassed the stated target of 900,000 views or opportunities to see with an estimated reach of more than 100 million views on social media alone.

An estimated reach of more than 800million through national, broadcast and regional media made the project by far the most successful Help for Heroes campaign to date. The charity also rated audience engagement on social media as five times higher than its average.

Robin Punt, Help for Heroes Communications Director, said: “We worked very closely with Polymedia on Facing it Together and set out to reinforce the unique bond between our supporters and those affected by their service. We wanted to demonstrate in an uplifting, engaging way how the money raised for Help for Heroes transforms lives, and the continued need for the support our charity offers.”

For more information about Facing it Together, see here.

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