Awards Case Studies Social Purpose Case Studies Marketing

Kite Factory on raising funds for Action for Children


By The Drum, Editorial

December 4, 2023 | 7 min read

Action for Children was aiming to raise £1 million during its Christmas 2022 fundraising campaign, so turned to The Kite Factory and Killer Creative to deliver the campaign. It also delivered the Poverty award at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the campaign work

Secret Santa is Action for Children’s flagship Christmas fundraising campaign. Running since 2018, the campaign has grown significantly, and income has increased by 570%. For Christmas 2022, we had big ambitions to continue that growth with the following targets, leading to three key objectives:

Income: Raise £1 million

Awareness: Maintain 39% campaign awareness

Exposure: Attain 160m Impressions

The context we found ourselves in would make this growth far from easy, with declining donor volumes in the category and inflationary pressures within the advertising market. However, failure was not an option. A shocking 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty. With the Cost-of-Living crisis and its impact firmly front of mind for our audiences, we felt strongly that it was the right time for us to tell and amplify the story of the children and families experiencing poverty at Christmas time.

Our strategy was to leverage this bleak social and economic context to build a sense of relevance and urgency with potential supporters, thus closing any proximity gap to our mission, and fuelling donations.

The campaign hinged around the concept: For most of us, the festive season is a happy time. But many children all over the UK face a Christmas without food, warmth or love. We’re working hard to change this – and we need your help. Be a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child.

We wanted people (including the UK public, media partners, corporate partners, and celebrities) to associate Secret Santa with helping millions of vulnerable UK children to have a magical Christmas and to also receive the vital support they need year-round.

Internal and external insight told us that UK poverty was front of mind to our audiences and that the public felt motivated to support children experiencing poverty. This insight, coupled with insight the public felt motivated to support children experiencing poverty. This insight, coupled with insight from previous years’ campaigns, led us to be bold and significantly increase our media and creative investment in 2022 – a calculated risk at a time when charities were (and still are) finding it hard to navigate fundraising.


Killer Creative developed new creative for the campaign as well as a new look and feel. This was to align our Secret Santa campaign with our core Action for Children brand and creatively stand out in a busy marketplace.

This fantastic new work was placed in an ambitious paid media strategy planned and bought by The Kite Factory. At the heart of the campaign was our first-ever Christmas TV advert, voiced by the wonderful Larry Lamb. The story followed three children in their animated worlds. We further developed one of the children’s stories from the ad in an animated film and stills, which ran as a thread through our paid digital, direct mail, organic social media and email.

Extensive testing was done on paid digital media in the run-up to the launch of the ad across PPC, Facebook, Instagram, Display and YouTube. We also tested a paid TikTok campaign for the first time ever to drive engagement.

But this wasn’t about just Paid Media alone – to make the biggest impact, we needed every touchpoint across Owned, Earned and Shared working together: Utilising Earned media to drive further awareness of child poverty at Christmas, we launched a national news story which revealed the concerns of working parents who couldn’t afford to celebrate Christmas.

For Shared, our Corporate Partnerships Team brokered a brilliant partnership with John Lewis Partnership, part of which included our Action For Children logo being featured on the end of their 2022 John Lewis Christmas advert, ‘The Beginner’. Whilst this was a separate activation, we worked hard to take advantage of the association with this key festive marketing moment, flighting our ads in the wake of the John Lewis campaign to build on any awareness that activation built.

Our Owned channels were synchronized to capture and share all this great content with existing warm and new and intrigued supporters.

The net effect was a sum far greater than the parts, supercharging our increased investment to ensure every pound spent was maximized. The new creative look and feel allowed consistency and flexibility across paid and organic media and all touchpoints, building awareness and driving response with a simple, compelling ask.


Income: Most importantly, against our income objective of £1 million, we had significant success with the campaign raising over £1.7 million (including Gift Aid), which is a 146% increase year on year. The launch of our Secret Santa Christmas TV advert positively impacted all our advertising due to higher brand awareness. We saw a robust correlation between audiences seeing our TV advertisement and donating online.

Awareness: We didn’t just maintain - we saw a 24% increase in prompted brand awareness, from pre-campaign (Oct 2022) to post-campaign (Jan 2023). This uplift is more than any other children’s charity achieved during the same period.

Exposure: By aligning all available touchpoints, we created a snowball effect for engagement, seeing our overall campaign impressions boosted way beyond our target of 160 million to deliver a staggering 400 million impressions. This meant our visibility was maximized at a key time of year for fundraising.

This momentum created stunning additional opportunities: The buzz around our campaign led to Peter Kay finding it on his way to a gig at London’s O2 Arena. On stage, Mr. Kay announced: "I think Christmas is about doing good things for other people, so we’re gonna take a pound off each of you. I’m going to put it in a children's charity, and I was looking at my phone on the way down, and I found one called Action for Children. They do a Secret Santa, and it seems really lovely. There are 14,000 people here, so if I take a pound, that’s £14,000 for children on your behalf. So, thanks!” (Source: The Mirror)

The TV advert also created new opportunities for further exposure and income:

Attracted new corporate support, such as Jaimeson Corp Finance, who donated after seeing the advert.

ITV’s This Morning got in touch to showcase Secret Santa in their ‘Best Christmas Stocking Filler for 2022’. It was great to see the editorial endorsing this amazing product live on TV, followed swiftly by our new TV ad, which we flighted to feature in the first break after.


The success of this campaign helped us on our mission to fight poverty for vulnerable children and their families, hence our fit for this category. Overall, we believe this paper showcases how smart deployment of every touchpoint available to you, alongside insight-fueled bravery, can result in big fundraising success. This means that Secret Santa can continue to deliver for years to come.

Client Testimonial

"Secret Santa 2022 was a bold campaign, but we believed in the business case for including TV in our planning. Collaborating with our fantastic partners at Killer Creative and The Kite Factory, we created a campaign that delivered brilliant results and made us truly proud." Lara Palmer, Senior Brand and Campaigns Manager, Action for Children

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