New campaign from Barnardo’s to raise awareness and drive support for families during the cost of living crisis

November 30, 2023

Barnardo’s has developed a new brand film named The Big If, produced in partnership with creative agency Open. The advert will run across ITV, Sky and on demand services from today (18 October). Accompanying content will feature on out-of-home advertising throughout the UK and national radio. The advert highlights the relationship between the charity’s project workers and the people they support with the strapline: ‘If we can change a childhood, we can change a life.’

After pausing its brand marketing for over 18 months, Barnardo’s aims to increase public understanding of the issues faced by vulnerable children, young people and families across the UK as well as how the charity supports those most in need.

The advert sits within a wider campaign which is aimed at tackling child poverty and will span digital marketing, retail spaces and mail drops to the charity’s supporters. This will be alongside the charity’s digital, social media and email marketing channels, as well as sustained regional and national PR over the coming months.

The campaign asks the public to engage by finding out about Barnardo’s and the people it helps, to donate, or to sign an online petition calling for the introduction of free school meals for all primary school children in England.  

It will also run alongside the charity’s festive fundraising appeal asking people to help Barnardo’s support children and families who are struggling with food parcels, energy and supermarket vouchers, warm clothing and Christmas presents.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Lynn Perry MBE said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a hugely detrimental impact on so many of the country’s most vulnerable families and it threatens to push those we’re here to help even closer to crisis.

“We know that sadly children growing up in poverty are likely to have poorer health, fewer opportunities, and worse outcomes later in life. That’s why it’s so important that we step in early.  

We are launching a campaign to tackle child poverty in the hope that it will educate, inspire and motivate people to donate or support us in other ways so we can continue to champion the children and families who need us most.”

The Big If advert features Luke, a young carer for his mum who is living with a long-term illness. Luke’s story is based on the real experience of one of the 380,000 children, young people, parents and carers who Barnardo’s helps in the UK today.  

The TV advert shows Luke talking to his class at school about his weekend, but we see that the reality of his experiences is very different to the glossy version of events which he shares with his peers.  

Luke and his mum are seen struggling to have enough food for breakfast, before he watches TV at home as his mum rests. This is in stark contrast to Luke’s voiceover where he says he and his mum eat all their favourite foods before a trip to the cinema.  

Then Luke’s friend Abby, who is a Barnardo’s project worker, arrives and they go to the park to play football, enjoy a snack and do his homework together. Abby is also shown dropping off a prescription bag for Luke’s mum. The voiceover accurately details this aspect of Luke’s weekend to show the influential, positive and beneficial role which Barnardo’s frontline workers can play in the lives of children they support.

Lucy Silver, Senior Copywriter from creative agency Open, said: “We’re proud to be supporting Barnardo’s and their work at such a difficult time for so many families. In the advert, we wanted to show the love between parent and child, as well as the difference having support from Barnardo’s makes in the lives of the young people it helps. When we were researching the film, we were struck by many of the charity’s case studies, which illustrated the poignancy of the trusting and steadfast relationship between the child and project worker, which is what makes Barnardo’s so unique.  

“It was a pleasure to work with director Amy Becker-Burnett, and our production partners Radical Media, who truly brought the story to life.”