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Small screen, big breaks: it’s time for charities to focus on DRTV

It’s a great time for DRTV. Despite media cost creeping back up from the crazy lows of 2020, we’re seeing some fantastic results. So why aren’t more charities getting on air?

For the RSPCA, DRTV has been ‘always on’ since records began. The challenge is therefore maintaining strong results, despite the fact that most of us will have seen an RPSCA ad multiple times. But an ad we made some four years ago is still pulling like a train thanks to its timeless urgency and moving imagery. And our new RSPCA ad, launched last month, is delivering response well above expectations, with a fresh and compelling take on the ongoing frontline service the RSPCA provide.

But most charities don’t have a history of channel learnings and a well-known brand behind them, so may feel that DRTV is out of reach. We’d argue: not so. When Young lives vs Cancer (formerly Clic Sargent) came to us with a modest budget and a strategic imperative to crack DRTV, the stakes were high. By using our Social Labs approach to test territories on social before investing in new creative development, we were able to move into the channel with confidence. That ad launched last year and is still performing brilliantly (see it here), with cost per acquisition well below target and ROI well above. That’s despite the disruption of a major rebrand while on air. And now, with a great second ad filmed and ready to launch and test against the banker, supporter acquisition for Young Lives vs Cancer is looking quite rosy.

DRTV doesn’t have to be expensive, and we can reduce risk through careful digital testing. And when you get it right, the impact on immediate acquisition targets and on longer-term brand engagement is huge. So with the channel showing no signs of slowing down and with many of us starting to firm up plans for 2022, we think now’s the time for more charities to think more seriously about getting their cause successfully on air.

About 11 London

11 London is an advertising and communications agency, based in West London. We work in the areas of health and humanity - with organisations, brands or products that improve or prolong life. To learn more about 11 London, please contact:


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