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WaterAid launches its first legacy appeal TV advert

21 Feb 2022 News

WaterAid has launched its first television advert dedicated to legacy-giving, which asks the viewer to add water to their will. 

The advert, What Jack Gave, begins with members of Jack’s family explaining the importance of mementos Jack gave to them. Then, a woman from Zambia appears with a glass of clean water, and the lens is widened to see the impact legacy-giving had on people Jack never met.

“Jack didn’t meet everyone in this film, but his life meant something to all of them,” the video says. 

Legacy income currently makes up for around 10% of WaterAid’s total income. Dominique Abranson, legacy and in memory lead at WaterAid, told Civil Society that legacy gifts at the charity have grown from £2.2m per year ten years ago, to approximately £10.2m in 2021-22.

She said: “With almost half of our legacy gifts coming from people not known to the charity, we know we can engage and inspire a far larger audience to include a gift in their will if we invest in TV rather than focus on our known supporters alone.”

The campaign video was made in partnership with the creative agency Don’t Panic and produced by Stink Films. 

Leaving legacies

For the financial year ending in March 2021, WaterAid recorded a total income of £89m. Accrued legacy income totalled over £1m, with a further £10m in legacy income estimated. Due to Covid-19, some legacy income administration was not finalised. 

Abranson said: “We estimate legacy income will more than double by 2030, to over £20m a year and will play a vital role in helping WaterAid to achieve our mission of a world where everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.”

WaterAid was founded in 1981. It works to provide clean water, toilets and good hygiene to people who do not have access to them. 

“What Jack Gave aims to close the proximity gap between audiences in the UK and the communities we work with,” Abranson added. 

“One of the biggest challenges for overseas development charities is that people do not feel as close to our work as they might with UK-focused causes. Therefore, we wanted to make an advert that creates a positive emotional connection and shows how your legacy can live on through your loved ones but also through the gift of clean water.

“We wanted to show that by adding WaterAid to your will, people won’t be leaving a legacy but starting one, creating lasting change through clean water, tapping into our desire to live on through the lives of others and make a lasting positive impact on the world.”

Actors with lived experience

The advert is the sixth piece of creative work Don’t Panic has collaborated with WaterAid on. The agency has been in partnership with the charity since 2020. 

Rick Dodds, creative partner at Don’t Panic, said: “With such a simple idea, we knew the emotional power would come from the cast and their performance. So, we cast people who could call on their own experiences and loved ones. 

“Caroline, for example, who we open on, is talking about her late husband. This gave the film an authenticity and power that a ‘fictional script’ couldn’t have achieved.”


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