Has any fundraising campaign ever been as successful as Band Aid? They kickstarted celebrity involvement in charity campaigns, an initiative that is still going strong today.

The super-group Band Aid was formed in 1984, led by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, and included the biggest names in British and Irish music at the time. They released “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise funds for the victims of famine in Ethiopia. The single went straight to number one and is still played at Christmas time. The campaign inspired other similar ventures, such as Comic Relief and a cover version of the song was released in 2014 by Band Aid 30.

Why a Christmas single? We believe it’s because of the seasonal consumer mindset and Christmas spirit, meaning more people are likely to buy a single or donate to a good cause, and the link to Christmas also means that there’s an excuse to play it every year. A regular single may have faded out of memory.

What can we learn from the group’s success?

Celebrity works. Non-profits in particular trend towards involving celebrities or influencers in big campaigns – their popularity helps to spread the message and encourage people to donate. While celebrities may become ambassadors for non-profits, it may be expensive to partner with a celebrity for a brand campaign. Some brands have made good use of influencer marketing – such as fashion brand Pretty Little Thing’s 2018 Christmas campaign, featuring influencers of all levels.

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