Ellie Mainwaring 29 March 2017

A British institution, Red Nose Day launched in 1988 as the brain child of Richard Curtis & Lenny Henry, closely followed by their leading ladies, Emma Freud and Dawn French and many more of television’s leading 80’s legends. To date the biannual broadcasting bonanza has raised over a billion pounds for worthy causes worldwide.

Across its near 30-year reign, Comic Relief’s highlights have included Billy Connolly proudly parading his package in Piccadilly, Ali G’s infamous interview with the Beckham’s, James Corden’s first ever Carpool Karaoke with George Michael and how could we forget this year’s Love Actually revival, not to mention a myriad of names and faces highlighting world issues of importance.

Easily the finest example of charity PR, how did they do it? We’ve donned our thinking caps (or rather red noses!) and unpacked the highlights of how this sensation achieved meteoric success.

Brutal Simplicity of Thought

The Red Nose – ageless, timeless, iconic and inclusive – gave a multifaceted vehicle to the campaign with the power to evolve and change as the project progressed.

TV Takeover

Dominating our screens every other year, there’s no avoiding Comic Relief as it takes over a full evening event of prime-time BBC space, not to mention the accompanying documentaries, chat show and news coverage. Lorraine Kelly’s sofa is something of a conveyor belt for Comic Relief!

Little Black Book

Garnering the support of the stars has been the lynchpin of Comic Relief’s glory. Not only does celebrity engagement harvest the following of the star in question, but also broadens the reach through their many projects, platforms and promotional opportunities. Otherwise disengaged audiences perk up and tune in for snippets of their favourite faces.

Social Media Storm

Dynamic digital content is the driving force for communicating in our modern world and this is something Comic Relief has heard loud and clear.

Captivating Corporates

Bringing on board the big guns has helped build the project. From recruiting BT to man the phones to working with Oxfam to reach those in need, the phrase “we’re stronger together” applies as collaborations have helped with introductions, resources, expertise and more. In return, corporates have achieved a mountain of PR.

The Power of Pupils

Starting in the classroom and engaging with school children is a simple yet effective way to build a brand for life. Schools help to raise brand awareness with families and in turn, drive fundraising momentum. Many a stalwart supporter will have first been exposed to Comic Relief with a pyjama day or bake sale!

It’s all about the money

Encouraging people to part with their cash is no easy task, so, it is vital to have a seamless and streamlined donation process. From homewares, food and groceries in Sainsbury’s to t-shirts, aprons and tea towels in TK Maxx, Comic Relief work to create snazzy merchandise giving not only a mechanism with which to raise money, but also preferential positioning in leading supermarkets and shops.