1940 Chronicle

RAF Benevolent Fund

Reading Room developed a dramatic social media campaign with five fictional characters bringing the timeless stories of human struggle during the Battle of Britain to a modern audience.

Objectives

Leading RAF welfare charity the RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) currently has a low brand awareness amongst serving members of the RAF and struggles to reach people once they leave, despite being well recognised by the older veteran generation.

As many of its current supporters are aged 70 or over, it needed to reach out and engage with a younger audience - such as Air Cadets and members of University Air Squadrons, in order to begin building long-term relationships and generate support.

70 years ago this summer the Battle of Britain took place, and it was crucial to the campaign to make the best possible use of this unique 70th anniversary celebration and raise the profile of the charity's work.

Our solution

We were driven by the central story of the RAF benevolent fund's welfare work and their incredible enthusiasm enabled us the freedom to bring the historical Battle of Britain to life, in a way only possible through digital media.

The campaign runs in two streams, one being a 1940-set online newspaper - 1940 Chronicle - featuring breaking news headlines from the summer of 1940 the paper plays out in real time as if the Battle of Britain was happening today - creating a real sense of currency for the reader.

The other stream, through daily blogging, Facebook notifications and live Twitter updates, is telling the stories of five fictional characters - a hurricane pilot, a radar operator, a plane mechanic, a nurse and a journalist - each giving powerful intertwining personal accounts on a daily and hourly basis as events of Britain on the brink of invasion unfold. This use of social media offers a currency and immersive engagement beyond the realms of a traditional re-telling of a 70 year old story, visitors are taken on a journey that immerses them in the emotions of war; the excitement, the fear, the sorrow and the hope.

To support the authenticity and add to the impact of the stories being told, we created a new brand for the 1940Chronicle and developed further promotional material including leaflets, fully developed characters era style photography, and a teaser movie trailer - all of which help to widen the reach of the campaign.

Outcome

The campaign successfully moves away from the traditional fact-driven communications of most historical charity campaigns to break new ground in the sector.

From the online newspaper through to the huge social media drama, we have delivered a social media campaign that tells an important, thought-provoking story that's as relevant today, as it was back then. This has helped RAFBF to widen their net and capture the attentions of a younger audience.

The social media drama has even been endorsed by celebrity Stephen Fry, whose tweeted his support for the campaign and helped to drive visitor numbers beyond 15,000 in just the first week– "Fabulous real time blogging for of Battle of Britain. You can relive 1940 day by day. A must."

1940 Chronicle