Royal National Institute for the Blind: Letter from Santa


RNIB’s main objective is to make the world more open and accessible to those with sight loss or sight impairment. Christmas is always an important period in RNIB’s fundraising calendar. It is an emotional time for families, when sight differences can be more acutely felt and those with visual challenges can feel excluded from seasonal activities.

RNIB had run their first integrated Christmas campaign in 2019, when their ‘Letter from Santa’ initiative supported the 14,500 UK children who are blind or partially sighted. The aim was to raise donations so kids could receive a festive braille letter from Santa Claus, making them feel truly included.

2019’s results were satisfactory but in 2020 our goal was to take the Christmas campaign to another level of effectiveness. Working with RNIB and creative partners Good Agency, JAA had a limited media budget to meet challenging targets.

  1. Our primary objective was to raise funds by prompting donations from new and existing supporters.
  2. The secondary goals were to increase engagement on two levels:
  • to engage a wider public audience with new RNIB messages
  • to engage the RNIB’s own staff and volunteers

It was a tough task but we knew we had some powerful creative assets starring 11 year old Keira, RNIB’s amazing young campaign ambassador.


The key to success lay in broadening the reach of ‘Letter from Santa’ without sacrificing fundraising efficiency. We knew our creative packed a real punch. Keira’s story was moving, funny and full of her own incredible character and warmth.

Good Agency had built a great Keira portfolio of video and image assets, with TV and social executions particularly strong, so JAA set out to get Keira’s message to the widest possible audience. To single-mindedly amplify our budget we devised a strategy with four key elements.

Maximising media value to strengthen our DRTV presence

To achieve targets our limited DRTV budget had to work very hard. JAA’s agile buying approach was vital in enabling us to quickly exploit value opportunities. On ITV Digital we secured airtime at CPTs 70% below market rates by taking advantage of short-term buying conditions. These exceptional costs were crucial in increasing our weight of TV advertising.

Smart tactical buying to increase our reach

Excellent DRTV buying demands a combination of cost-efficiency and reach-building. JAA’s TV team were constantly alert to tactical opportunities and identified the perfect spot to extend Keira’s coverage when the film “Arthur Christmas” was aired at teatime on the first Sunday in December – a movie with exactly the right audience profile and a great environment for Keira’s emotive message. We secured the first spot, in the first break.

Tailor-making the campaign for social media

JAA’s extensive charity experience had taught us the importance of adapting creative specifically for social so we worked with RNIB and Good Agency to tailor our social ads. In particular, the fact that our creative worked very well in a short form made it ideal for Instagram Stories, a channel which produced outstanding results.

Using JAA’s media owner relationships to unlock extra value

JAA’s strong connections with media owners helped us secure free press advertising in Metro and You magazine in early January. This allowed RNIB to publicly thank Christmas donors and supporters, as well as extending our presence and generating ‘bonus’ funds.

Working closely with RNIB and Good Agency we executed an integrated plan in which our paid media activity underpinned a range of other PR, owned social, editorial and content initiatives.

New cash donors
ROI from new supporters
Surpassed RNIB's fundraising target
14 million
Adults reached


Christmas 2020 produced phenomenal results for RNIB:

·       Over 9,500 new cash donors were recruited – 75% ahead of target

·       Cost per Donor was under £15 – 48% below target

·       ROI was 1.46 from new supporters – 90% above target

·       Total Christmas 2020 income surpassed RNIB targets by over 20%

·       Exceptionally low DRTV CPTs and social CPMs enabled us to reach almost 14 million adults

All involved were incredibly proud of the campaign. We are now intent on making Letter from Santa even bigger in 2021 and taking the wonderful Keira’s message out to even more of the UK.


Royal National Institute for the Blind: Letter from Santa

It's July but adland is prepping for Christmas. JAA looks back on RNIB's 'Letter from Santa' campaign featuring fabulous Keira. The aim was to raise donations so kids could receive a festive braille letter from Santa Claus, making them feel truly included in the festive fun.

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John Ayling & Associates