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The public “hardly remember charities in Christmas ads” – nfpSynergy

John Lewis Christmas TV advert 2016
The public “hardly remember charities in Christmas ads” – nfpSynergy

Retailers’ TV ads with charity partnerships might make the headlines and feature articles, but they don’t linger in the public’s memories. Research by has found that very few people can name the charity associated with some well known ads.

When shown the ads, the best remembered charity was the Royal British Legion (at just 4%) for the Sainsbury’s ‘1914’ ad in 2014. Only 10% of the public remembered that the advert, focusing on chocolate bars shared during the ‘Christmas Day Truce’, was advertising Sainsbury’s.

In fact only this advert and the 2015 John Lewis advertising campaign in partnership with Age UK were recognised as having a charity link by more than 1% of the survey respondents!

Even the best remembered company advert was John Lewis, with 22% of survey respondents correctly attributing the 2015 (‘Man on the Moon’) advert to the retailer, and 24% naming it for its 2016 advert.

Nfpsynergy commented: “Our conclusion is that while Christmas ads may provide good awareness and brand recognition for the companies involved, it is far less effective for promoting awareness of the charities involved.”

It added: “Let’s just hope it raises more money for the chosen charities, than it does awareness.”

The research was conducted in November 2017 with a representative sample of 1,000 members of the public. It covered other attitudes and activities related to charities and Christmas.

For example:

  • The most popular way to contribute at Christmas is by purchasing charity cards (48%), and by buying products that give to charity as well.
  • While the public hear more about charities at Christmas, it is a harder time to give money because of all the other costs.

Charities at Christmas

NfpSynergy have shared their findings:


Those Christmas charity retailer adverts

If you too are struggling to remember the adverts, here they are.









Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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