Roy Keane Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign for the Blind

The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind charity has embarked on its most high-profile marketing drive yet, with its first TV commercial, starring long-time supporter Roy Keane.

The charity, which is 85 per cent funded by private donations, has this year extended its spend by 10 per cent. It replaced its usual billboard campaign with a combination of TV and cinema ads, plus online marketing.

It is also using a radio ad, voiced by Keane and running nationally.

The campaign coincides with the charity’s single biggest fundraising drive of the year, the Specsavers -backed ‘Shades’ campaign. The campaign was kicked off by a high profile appearance by Keane on the Late Late Show, which generated the first 300 text donations.

This year, most of the funds are expected to be raised by more traditional means, such as the sale of €2 Shades pins across the country for all this month.

The pins are available at Specsavers stores, as well as Dunnes Stores, greyhound stadiums, UCI and Storm cinemas, and other participating outlets.

Delia Webster, communications specialist at the Cork based charity, said this year had been difficult for charities, which made the use of a high profile campaign important. She said she expected more online donations than ever before this year.

‘‘We need to adapt the way we communicate and we believe a lot of young people are paying attention to us, and they tend to want more convenient ways to contribute.” The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind needs to raise more than €4.5 million through donations each year.

The group provides, not only dogs for the blind, but also ‘assistance dogs’ that are used to help calm children with autism. This pilot project began in 2005 and now produces 40 trained dogs a year, the same number as the traditional guide dogs.

The cost of training just one dog is €38,000, and the people using them also require intensive training in how to handle them. ‘‘We have seen a decline in donations this year,” said Webster.

‘‘But from what I can see, there are businesses that are down 30 per cent. We are certainly not suffering that much; the fact that we are extending our campaign comes at exactly the right time.”

The Shades campaign now running for seven years, was recognised for Best Use of Sponsorship by a Brand in the 2005 PR Institute awards, picking up gold. Specsavers’ Irish stores have raised over €300,000 for the charity.

Original source: Sunday Business Post

Find Out More

Visit the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind website.

Watch the new TV advert below: