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THE STRENGTH OF STORYTELLING

All it took for Muqdad Ghalib Hamid to die was to turn on his TV. Last October, after two years in exile, he returned to his home village of Barima, a farming hamlet on the plains outside the Iraqi city of Mosul.

As he picked his way down streets razed by air strikes, he was delighted to find the family home till intact. Inside, he picked up the TV remote, wondering if the satellite dish still had a signal. A huge explosion followed, killing the father of two and leaving his brother badly injured.

The fighters who planted it would have known that the soldiers pursuing them would not have time to sit watching TV. Their target was ordinary Iraqi civilians like Hamid, whose only crime was wanting to come home.”

 

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Hamid’s story haunted me long after I finished reading the  Telegraph Magazine’s evocative article, showcasing the work of Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Mosul. For the past 12 months, Cherry Tiger has been lucky enough to work with this British charity, who are dedicated to locating and safely destroying improvised landmines, that devastatingly kill civilians as they try to rebuild their lives.

Working closely with MAG we created impactful, complimentary ‘off the page’ advertising to run alongside the editorial, counterbalancing the gritty first-hand stories of MAG deminers with rational arguments that persuaded the readers to act.

For a charity like MAG emotion can be pivotal to advertising effectiveness. A strategy that harnesses the mix of emotional and rational appeals, provided by placing advertising within an empathetic editorial environment will always perform better than one that relies on the rational persuasion of stand-alone ads.

 

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By utilising editorial and proactive PR to support advertising efforts, MAG has created opportunities not only to take the public on a journey to a deeper relationship with the organisation, but to curate the most effective environment for the advertisement to achieve ‘cut-through’.

It is human nature to trust stories when a ‘real’ experience or personal tone of voice is used. The best stories not only stay with the reader long after they turn the page, but allow the audience to participate, to engage with, and become immersed in the emotion and the narrative. This is particularly relevant for a comparatively ‘low profile’ charity whose cause and work are largely unknown to a broader audience.

The response rate, revenue generated and return on investment completely vindicated the ‘editorial plus advertising’ approach, raising awareness of MAG’s work and providing the strongest cold acquisition results achieved from the channel.