Encouraging everyday people to find their inner champion.


National charity, Aspire needed to raise awareness of, and drive participation in their biggest single fundraising event – The Aspire Channel Swim. The annual fundraising challenge asks individuals to sign up to swim 22 miles (the same distance as swimming the Channel) in their local pool to raise money for people living with spinal cord injury.

Turning instinct into action

After successful campaigns targeting women in 2016 and 2017, we found that the challenge was increasingly seeing more interest from men. Our research phase needed to uncover the real motivations behind participation in order to deliver a campaign identity and campaign that would truly resonate. We built up a collection of case studies and testimonials. Our strategy was to frame the swim as an accessible challenge that everyone can take part in.

This led to our campaign idea: ‘Discover Your Inner Champion’. It also meant we were shifting to a campaign that was less rational – providing literal information – to one that was more emotive. IPA research has proved this to be the right approach to build brands. Heroic portraits of everyday people - overlaid with empowering headlines such as ‘Queen of the Tide’ and ‘The Human Shark’ were a rally cry to encourage people to take part in the swim. We devised a research study with our long-standing partners at the UoB linguistic department, EMMA. This gives us the ability to test work for the use of metaphors and figurative language to see how people respond. Participants in the study frequently mentioned that they felt empowered, inspired, motivated, entertained and confident when absorbing the campaign creative.

The visual identity of the event was also completely overhauled and our integrated marketing strategy rolled-out across social media, direct mail, email, OOH, digital advertising and print media, whilst our key messaging informed all PR outreach.

Stop, collaborate and list 'em

Photography was shot by the impeccable Marta Konachek.

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