DIRECT CHOICE: AXA PPP Healthcare

The 'Give some relief to the NHS' line in AXA PPP Healthcare's ad has raised a few eyebrows. The controversy started because of the unusual approach of appealing to those rich enough to afford private care and socially responsible enough to care about the NHS. It was written specifically to appear in The Guardian.

So what's the problem, disgruntled of Islington? Instead of offering up the same old list of benefits, creative agency Carlson has flipped the proposition on its head to inform us that we can give money back to the NHS (£43m last year), help the public sector by reducing waiting lists and improve hospital conditions for others. Almost makes you feel guilty about the two months free cover as a welcome gift. Almost.

It's an innovative strategy, one that reminds me of an anomaly in charity marketing. Research has shown that a charity appeal (for instance, '£3 will save this child's life ...') tends to raise more money from an insertion in The Daily Telegraph than in The Guardian.

The incorrect assumption is that a liberal reader base will be more responsive because it is more socially responsible. It would be interesting to see the results of this ad tested in The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian on the same day.

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