October 2019 marked 50 years of the charity Riding for the Disabled Association. To commemorate the landmark date, the charity launched its ’50 Faces of RDA’ campaign in spring, marking 50 years of challenging attitudes to disability with a display of 50 faces of volunteers, coaches and supporters on its brand new website.
With only one new research report released at the start of the year, the challenge was sustaining media interest and broadcast coverage for the duration of the year.
We advised that the best way to tell RDA’s story and elongate campaign messaging was to split activity between three key dates in February, May and October.
February saw the release of a research report that revealed the positive impact of volunteering on mental health, with RDA calling on the government to prescribe volunteering as a method of tackling loneliness. This strong news story allowed us to introduce the 50th anniversary messaging, as well as some of the 50 Faces of RDA, and we were able to establish initial relationships with broadcasters who placed RDA on their radars and promised to get in touch again for the actual anniversary later in the year.
Our second spike in May aligned with the official launch of 50 Faces and the advent of National Volunteers Week in June. Whilst the content was similar to that of the first, both the date peg and access to all 50 Faces for interview opportunities all over the country helped to refresh the anniversary and stimulate further media interest.
Our final phase launched in October, the official anniversary. Rehashing our offering for the February and May phases, critical for this activation was the option to film at internal gala events organised by the RDA that were going on all over the country. This, coupled with access to early archive footage of the RDA in action, and the participation of Paralympian and ex RDA rider Natasha Baker resulted in strong TV interest. Thanks to the participation of 11 individual volunteers/coaches at local riding schools, enabling a unique opportunity with ITV Content Hub.
The strong regional spread across the various riding centres twinned with national opportunities ensured that the anniversary news and events were seen and heard by millions of existing and potential supporters and beneficiaries of the RDA’s amazing work.
In total, we secured 50 + items of coverage across the year including two national TV hits (ITV News and Sky Sunrise), two separate interviews with Sky News Radio, 17 local TV interviews including 11 individual regional ITV hits (airing multiple times), STV, NTV and S4C, one interview with the news bulletin service Radio News Hub, 13 regional BBC interviews and nine commercial radio interviews with the CEO Ed Bracher, some of the 50 Faces of RDA, and volunteers up and down the country.