Comic Relief: how charities can do brand rejuvenation

Saw a lovely example of brand rejuvenation from an unusual source: the UK charity Comic Relief. This was set up back in 1985 by Richard Curtis (writer/director of Love Actually and Blackadder).

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 11.02.13
Every 2 years comedians and actors put on a series of shows and entertainment to raise money. This is called "Red Nose Day" after the red noses you wear on the day to show your support. The image below shows what a nice job they have done of rejuvenating themselves!


As you can see, the funds raised have gone up consistently each time, from £15million in 1988 to £82million in 2009. Some suggestions on what we can learn from this success story.

1. Create a powerful brand property

Having started to do a bit of work in the charity area, you are struck by just how over-crowded a "market" this is. There are literally thousands of good causes competing for our money. One way to stand out is creating a strong visual property, in this case the red nose, as I have posted on before.

2. Constantly rejuvenate

Comic Relief have done a great job of rejuvenating their brand property. It would have been easy to keep using the same red nose year after year. Instead, each time it is different. And often the change includes "functionality" not just visual design, such as the one in 2001 that stuck its tongue out! This keeps the charity fresh, and encourages participation.

3. Brand character as a source of distinctiveness

I also like the way Comic Relief uses its brand character to be different. Many charities use shock tactics to get us to donate. And in a world where we are over-loaded with bad news, this can be wearing after a while. Comic Relief does what is says on the tin. Raising money, but using fun. I love their slogan that sums this up: "Do something funny for money" 🙂

In conclusion, a lovely example of having a clear brand idea, brought to life with a powerful brand property and constantly rejuvenated to the brand growing.