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  • I'm Mark Phillips, the founder and CEO of Bluefrog. After a decade working for both ActionAid and YMCA England, I decided in 1997 to create the fundraising agency that I had been searching for. This is my private space where I share ideas, results, research findings and the odd thought on fundraising. I try to avoid looking at my belly button and concentrate on stuff that will make fundraising more effective. It should all be stuff that you can actually use. If you want to know more, click on the About button below.
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« Reinventing the collection box | Main | Five idea killers and how you beat them »

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


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Tom Ahern

Mark... Thank you for bringing back a piece of Howard Gossage's brilliance. I've had the "nobody reads ads -- they read what interests them" quote in my show for years, and yet had never actually seen any of Gossage's work. Your analysis is extremely helpful, too; so thanks times 2. The odd (frustrating? paradoxical? daft?) thing is, the environmental watchdogs still do things the wrong way. Currently, the Grand Canyon is threatened with uranium mining on the rim (it's always something). A couple of years ago a large US environmental nonprofit had me write a case against that threat. Which I did: on fire with emotional triggers like anger and "loss aversion." (As Gossage's ad was.) Did they accept my case for support? No, they did not. They DEBATED my case and then went a different, less fiery direction they were more comfortable with. Today, the threat of uranium mining at the Grand Canyon persists. As you point out, it's NOT about what the organization responds to, it's about what the audience responds to. And audiences respond to emotional triggers and "give me a way to express my outrage." In my view, the environmental movement, ironically, SLOWS the saving of the planet because it prefers to debate the science than to stir the souls of those who will suffer the consequences. Once our planet is fully warmed, then our science-based charities can smugly say, "See, I told you." They will have kept us safe, though, from emotional triggers.

Lisa Sargent

Mark, after seeing Tom's post here mine seems trivial :) But I read and enjoyed your post and especially enjoyed seeing the Grand Canyon piece. It reminded me of the article we were referred to by The Agitator on Ed McCabe in The New York Times, and how emotional triggers (and the right triggers to the right audience) rule the day. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/automobiles/real-mad-men-pitched-safety-to-sell-volvos.html?pagewanted=all

Craig Linton

Hi Mark, I'm about two thirds of the way through the book and enjoying it immensley. I love the irreverant genius of pink air, shirtkerchiefs and the paper plane competition.

I've been trying to think of any charity campaigns that used similar techniques in recent years and am struggling. The closest I came to for irreverance was Movember...

I'd love to be brave (and creative) enough to come up with a fantastic one ad, one publication campaign like he used to do and generate such a fab response from it.

Can it still be done in this day and age and in this fragmented media market? I'd love to have a go!


hello all...

you may find our film on Gossage interesting, currently in post production - you can see a working trailer at www.howardluckgossage.com

All the best


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