Macmillan Cancer Support launch comfort blanket campaign

The Macmillan comfort blanket

The Macmillan comfort blanket

Macmillan Cancer Support teamed up with Future Publishing’s monthly title, The Knitter, for this year’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning; an event that has become a renowned charity event.  Macmillan collaborated with The Knitter to launch a nationwide Macmillan Comfort Blanket campaign.

Hand knitting company Rowan and knitting enthusiasts across the UK took part in creating squares for blankets with designers, retailers and celebrities becoming fully engaged throughout July and August. The novelty of the knitting campaign attracted significant levels of interest and highlighted the use of recognising a space for innovative ways of promotion.

Hand knitting company Rowan and knitting enthusiasts across the UK took part in creating squares for blankets with designers, retailers and celebrities becoming fully engaged throughout July and August.

Celebrity knitter Kirsty Allsopp

Celebrity knitter Kirsty Allsopp

Macmillan showcased and shared designs with all knitting enthusiasts in its entirety through forming strong relationships with highly influential bloggers and journalists. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook updated online knitting sites, blogs and forums to enable Macmillan’s press team to thank everybody for their support and respond to any questions.

With The Knitter magazine keen to work with Macmillan and because knitting communities are highly engaged online, the idea of a Macmillan Comfort blanket was born. Editor of the Knitter and its sister magazine -Simply Knitting, Juliet Bernard teamed up with High quality knit provider Rowan. Internationally renowned designers of knitwear soon came on board and it became the perfect fit to marry the coffee morning event and knitting community together to further grow an already popular event in new directions.

Celebrity endorsement brought a new light to Knitting when the Macmillan website launched an exclusive celebrity pattern by Kirsty Allsopp four weeks into the campaign before she became the face of the knitting campaign.

Aimee Aldersley from Macmillian Cancer Support said:

“Persuading and sourcing knitting enthusiasts to participate in a national event at first seemed a difficult task but what this campaign did not need, was persuasion. Using social media Macmillan tapped into people’s passion for knitting an already growing creative industry for professionals, amateurs and people who merely see it as a hobby”.

Macmillan harnessed people’s creativity and charitable interest by tying the two together and creating a timeline of carefully paced actions throughout a 2 month lead up towards the coffee morning

The Knitting campaign unravelled the opportunity to create awareness around Macmillan’s Freeze-out Fuel Poverty campaign which is urging the Government to offer winter fuel payments to people affected by cancer. Because cancer patients feel the cold that much more throughout winter and are struggling to pay their energy bills due to being out of work, Macmillan seized this opportunity to draw people together which created an overwhelming sense of community.

With over 200 blankets made, participating knitters raised over £31,000 through coffee morning registrations. Macmillan plans to continue strengthening these new relationships with more activity in the pipeline for 2010. The most challenging part now will be to develop new campaigns that appeal to continue growing Macmillan’s flagship fundraiser even further.

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