Barnardo’s launched its eagerly awaited advertising campaign on 26 June 2007. The scope of the campaign was two fold; to promote the organisation’s re-brand and inspire people to Believe in Children.
The simple messaging aimed to challenge public perceptions and demonstrate that Barnardo’s has practical solutions to the problems many children and young people are facing growing up in the UK today – in short, they never stop believing in children.
The campaign included: press ads in national newspapers and supplements; a national radio ad featuring the voice of Daniel Craig; panels running on London Underground trains (Piccadilly and Northern lines); billboards; and an online presence with The Guardian and other key opinion forming sites, featuring a thought-provoking short film.
The campaign posed a series of challenging questions designed to make people consider their own preconceptions of some children. The work tackled social stereotypes around issues such as teenage pregnancy and disability.
What were the aims of the campaign?
We aimed to inspire the public by asking them to restore their belief in children. We know (and can demonstrate) that with the right help, committed support and a little belief, even the most vulnerable children can turn their lives around.
Ultimately, we wanted the campaign to engage people emotionally, making them feel good about Barnardo’s and helping them to gain an understanding of what we do.
What were the key messages of the advertising campaign?
The campaign asked the public to restore their belief in children. The challenging advertising exemplified Barnardo’s belief and sustained commitment in children no matter what their circumstances. It also challenged pre-conceptions about children who find themselves in trouble and/or disadvantage.
Do you think it was appropriate for a children’s charity to encourage swearing?
The swearing was a portrayal of our real experiences of working with children and young people in some circumstances. The decision to allow the language to be used portrayed the reality that we are not deflected by bad language and will persevere and look beyond aggressive terms to see the potential in every child.
Why did Barnardo’s adopt a new strap-line?
The charity market is hugely competitive and as a result Barnardo’s needed to stand out and be understood in this crowded sector. ‘Believe in children’ reflects our vision and purpose and will make people empathise with our work and make it relevant to them. We always want to show Barnardo’s as a modern charity that has moved on from running orphanages; our new message can help reflect this.
What can I do to show I also believe in children?
You can show you believe in children in many ways, such as by making a donation or volunteering, or by fundraising or campaigning for Barnardo’s. Find out more about how to get involved >
About our campaign… help us break the cycle
Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s speaking about the children in trouble campaign
There are people who might say that some children are difficult to believe in – those who are troublesome or engage in anti-social behaviour.
At Barnardo’s, we argue that it is these children who especially need our help and support.
Evidence shows that most children in trouble are trapped in a cycle of disadvantage:
- they come from the poorest families and communities
- they have the poorest educational experiences
- they are more likely to suffer ill health and substance abuse.
Most children are not troublesome. They attend school, take part in activities and many volunteer in their communities.
Despite this, society has the perception that children are responsible for a significant amount of antisocial behaviour and crime and are becoming increasingly intolerant.
Society is demonising its young people.
What we are campaigning for
We want people to think again.
Help us change the public’s intolerance, and stop the demonisation of children and young people: take action with Barnardo’s.
Our research findings
Research conducted by YouGov shows that:
- just under half (49%) of people believe that children are increasingly a danger to each other and adults
- 43% agree something has to be done to protect us from children
- 45% think that children are feral in the way they behave.
A survey conducted amongst Barnardo’s young people – just over half of whom have been in trouble – found that most of them thought that young people get into trouble because of boredom and peer pressure.
Of the 393 youngsters, aged between 10 and 23:
- 44% said bad behaviour is encouraged when the media portrays their peers as misbehaving
- 84% said young people get into trouble because of boredom
- 88% said having more things to do and places to go might stop young people getting into trouble
- 32% would go to friends for help if they were in trouble.
You can download the full survey Don’t give up on us (PDF) conducted amongst Barnardo’s young people.
Overview of recent campaigns
Young carers (2006)
Young carers are children and young people who help look after a member of the family who is sick, disabled or has mental health problems. With this campaign we were aiming to make the nation aware of young carers, and have asked the public to give their permission for a young carer to take a break from their responsibilities. Barnardo’s runs 14 projects throughout the UK that support young carers and keep families together. We provide various services that make it possible for a child to just be a child.
New Life (2005)
Our New Life campaign highlights some of the contemporary issues facing children: abuse through prostitution, domestic violence, parental neglect and drug and alcohol misuse. The extent of these issues is often hidden but the campaign brings them into the public arena and highlighted how adult behaviours can affect the happiness and ongoing development of children. We also wanted to highlight the dedicated work of our project workers in giving vulnerable children a new life.
Child poverty campaign (2003)
This campaign highlighted the potential detrimental effects poverty can have on a child’s future. Sadly, the damaging impact of poverty is cyclical, and without help children born into poverty are more likely to suffer ill-health, be unemployed or homeless and to become involved in offending, drug and alcohol abuse and abusive relationships in adulthood. The images used highlighted some of these potential outcomes and were advertised in the tabloid and broadsheet press.
Stolen Childhood (2002)
Stolen Childhood was launched in an attempt to change the public’s perceptions regarding children who are victims of sexual exploitation. We used five press advertisements, one TV advertisement and a poster campaign in order to communicate our message. The imagery showed children with aged faces to capture the concept that abuse through prostitution steal’s lives.
Emotional Death (2001)
This campaign attempted to demonstrate that disadvantaged children can easily grow up to lead tragic lives if they are not given the help they need at an early age. Our aim was to communicate that Barnardo’s can help transform the lives like those featured in the adverts, and give them the chance to fulfil their potential. The copy described the childhood event that led to their death: sexual abuse from a relative, exclusion from school, being beaten by a parent. Without Barnardo’s help they emotionally died as children, their fates sealed from the moment their rights were abused.
Giving Children Back Their Future (1999-2000)
This campaign included seven press advertisements which depicted children in adult situations, such as a baby injecting heroin, a toddler clutching a bottle of whisky and another preparing to commit suicide. The advertisements aimed to show what potentially disastrous adulthoods await many of the disadvantaged and vulnerable young people Barnardo’s works with. The main copy line always gives the child’s name and current adult age. The advertisements were also designed to force a reappraisal of Barnardo’s and all it stands for: a contemporary and relevant charity. There was also one advertisement which showed the baby in the original ‘heroin baby’ advertisement as a happy, healthy youngster, the advertisement had the tag line ‘the ad we wish we could have run’.