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Macmillan for Gamechangers logo

Online charity gaming with Macmillan and Twitch

From 14 – 15 November 2015, some of the biggest gamers in the business took part in Macmillan’s Game Changers – a 24-hour marathon of online gaming, streamed live on our Twitch channel from Twitch HQ in Soho.

For those of you wondering what Twitch is, don’t know what a gamer is, haven’t got a scooby what online gaming entails, or why Macmillan have got involved, this post should clear it up.

Twitch is the world’s leading social video streaming platform, and community. The basic premise is that people can broadcast themselves playing video games live (we call them gamers), while interacting with those watching the action unfold. For people who enjoy computer games, it’s a fantastic way to connect with others who share their passion.

Some of the gamers on Twitch are so entertaining that they’ve grown massive followings and become major online influencers. Check out LTZonda (286,537 followers) and LeahLovesChief (89,367 followers).

That’s great but what’s it got to do with Macmillan?

In February 2015, Twitch commanded 1.8% of peak US internet traffic, a percentage beaten only by the giants Netflix, Google and Apple. That’s a lot of people using it! Check out these other stats from October 2015 which will blow your mind.

At Macmillan, we are actively trying to reach new audiences through our fundraising activity so we have to engage people in ways which appeal to them. With Twitch’s popularity, it makes the platform the perfect place for charities to connect with a whole new demographic.

A quick look at the user demographics over the past 30 days (from quantcast.com) shows that Twitch users are largely white males between the ages of 18-24, with an average household income of $0-50k. This has traditionally been a difficult audience for Macmillan to engage with outside of standard physical challenge events so this is a great place to find them.

Back in 2014, Adam Lyne raised over £40,000 for Macmillan in under a week by holding his own gaming marathon, so we knew there was serious potential with this audience. We noticed that although individuals were fundraising, there wasn’t much outside of this so decided to create our first organised charity gaming event. We asked Adam and some other gamers to get together and brainstorm how an event like this would work as we wanted it to be as credible as possible – run for, and by gamers.

What happened on the day?

With Twitch’s help, 17 popular gamers were brought on board to take part in our main Game Changers event which was streamed live on the Macmillan Twitch account.

People sitting in front of a large wall mounted screen in a room at Twitch headquarters. They are pleaying video games and wearing headsets with microphones..

While gaming, they encouraged viewers to donate by agreeing to complete challenges. For example, when someone donated £1000, one gamer shaved their eyebrow off live on the stream. Nice! There was even a wheel of misfortune which was spun whenever a fundraising target was met. Onions were eaten, legs were shaved, eyebrows were waxed, hair was dyed, hot sauce was eaten and even Muggy (our Coffee Morning mug costume) was worn.

A collage of the gamers doing their challenges like shaving their eyebrows, eating onions, dying their hair and wearing shower caps.

It wasn’t just traditional gaming which was being streamed though. Beth Freeman, a talented creative streamer who streams different kinds of art, produced this original piece for Macmillan, and her stream has raised a staggering £1,368 so far.

A piece of art depicting two computer screens, keyboard and a Game Changers mug full of coffee

Alongside the main event, we also encouraged supporters to hold their own DIY 24-hour gaming marathons and raise money by completing forfeits.

One of our gamers Valkia, chronicled the day in this YouTube video.

Has Game Changers been a success?

We definitely think so. The event has raised £60,704 so far and there will be further DIY events taking place till the end of the year so we expect that total to rise. On our main stream, over 2 years worth of footage was watched over the 24 hours, and there were up to 2000 viewers at any one time. Our second stream which took place on Adam Lyne’s own channel got over double this, so that’s plenty of engagement.

This is just the beginning of Macmillan’s relationship with gaming so watch this space.

Thanks to Twitch for giving up their headquarters and helping to run this event. And thanks also to our sponsors HyperX and Xbox for helping to make the first year of Game Changers such a success.

Thoughts? Questions about this post? Leave a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital, we’d love to chat.

Christmas comes but twice a year

If you’re a designer that is. Like the rest of the population, every December we experience the joys of over-consumption, surprise presents and extended time spent with seldom-seen relatives. But we also get to spend a magical month or two in the middle of the year immersed in a glittering, marzipan-scented world of santas, robins and all things Christmas. Yep you’ve guessed it: the Christmas gift catalogue.

Hot-off-the-press copies of Macmillan’s Shop to Change Lives catalogue that I worked on earlier this year have just landed on my desk and they’re looking good. Along with a healthy sprinkling of that staple, the charity christmas card, this year’s edition also features an expanded range of gifts and festive accessories. From delightful tree decorations to tasty baking goods, our sales team worked really hard sourcing stuff that’ll hopefully appeal to all our supporters and keep the much-needed money rolling in. And our job in the Creative team was to beaver away putting together photoshoots, concepts, copy and page layouts to show them all off at their best and make it easy for our customers to find what they want. (Phew! managed to finish the paragraph without slipping in an elf reference.)

I’m sure the suspected robin and Santa overdose I suffered in May will be worth it when the virtual cash registers start ringing at macmillan.org.uk/shop 

Only 158 shopping days ’til the big day so get clicking

Driving registrations to golf events

For the launch of our new community golf event the Big Golf Drive we went for a ‘does what it says on the tin’ concept, using close-up cropped silhouettes of golf clubs to give a dynamic feel to the materials.

On the registration leaflet for the Silverspoons event we put our heads together and managed to shoe-horn in a few new golf puns. After a few years working on the various golf events we thought the well might have run dry, but we managed to dredge up ‘We love greens’, ‘ Be an early birdie’, ‘We pitch in’ and ‘Putt it in the post’ (groan). It was December when we worked on this so maybe the panto season inspired us.

Fantastic new materials to promote our services….

….as well as all the wonderful ways people can get involved with us.
We’ve recently updated our core materials in line with the new proposition, get and give messages and the identity refresh. We think they look fantastic, but take a look for yourself.

Our core materials are the leaflets and posters that promote and explain Macmillan services and how people can access them. They also explain how people can get involved and help us support people affected by cancer.
There are two main core leaflets, Living with cancer? (MAC13377_DL) which promotes our get support message and 5 ways you can help (MAC1340_DL) which promotes our give support message. These were previously called ‘Affected by cancer?’ and ‘Join us’. These leaflets also have accompanying posters which are available in A3 and A4. We also have a mini leaflet which promotes both the give and get support messages equally, this is called Living with cancer? mini leaflet (MAC13377_MC).
These materials can be used in a wide range of settings to offer support to people affected by cancer, carers, and anyone who may have concerns about cancer, as well as those who may be interested in helping people living with cancer by getting involved with us. The Living with cancer? leaflet is currently distributed in outlets such as hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies, while 5 ways you can help is ideal for use in situations where people may want to find out more about the different ways they can support people living with cancer through Macmillan. It can be given out at events, included in goody bags or inserted in mailings.
All of the above are available to order via be.Mac.

Please email marketing@macmillan.org.uk if you’d like to place a large order (over 1000 leaflets or over 100 posters) so that we can make sure we have enough stock.

The Macmillan shop

I haven’t posted in a while but there has been so much going on in the creative team lately.
One thing that is pretty exciting is the launch of the new Macmillan online shop shop.macmillan.org.uk/

We worked really closely with the Sales team, with initial concepts and lots of research on other sites that we love. Finally we handed it over to the digital team while we designed products to sell on the site.

One product we hope will make bags of money for Macmillan is the Macmillan bag for life. Here is picture of yours truly modelling it (in the new photography style) but that’s another post!

If you want to buy the bag visit here

Don’t forget to comment on the blog, that’s fun of it! We want to hear your voice too.

Macmillan Information Zone – at Boots

Presenting the new Macmillan Information Zone, being piloted in Boots’ flagship store in the High Street, Birmingham.

Launching on Wednesday 13 October the unit will be open every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am – 5pm where Karima, our Information Specialist, will be on hand to talk through customers questions and concerns. This is part of the West Midland’s pilot scheme where Macmillan has a range of customer facing information materials available in a selection of different sized stores, accompanied by display materials sign-posting to the Macmillan Support Line, our web-site and to local Macmillan services.

The zone’s been designed with modular panels which can build different shaped zones within a range of stores, features the bold and eye catching visuals that are part of the partnership branding and provides access to a range of publications, even when the unit is closed. Internet access means we can view and print off our amazing online information content or order materials we may not have on site for our customers.

The pilot runs for the rest of 2010 and will be evaluated by an external agency before we look at rolling this out further in 2011 and beyond.

Work hard, Play hard

On 24th and 25th of September our HR team (and some helpers) went to forum3, a recruitment exhibition for the charity and not-for-profit sector at The Business Design Centre in Islington. So, obviously this was an excellent opportunity for us to take advantage of the ever-growing status of the sector in the work arena. 
With 150 stands at the exhibiton we had to ‘stand’ out from the crowd. 
So we made ours friendly, informative and most of all quirky… 
The stand looked like the inside of a home with ‘family portraits’ of staff and playful job descriptions, leading up to a mirror so delegates could see themselves as part of the Macmillan family. We used the line ‘work hard, play hard’ to show that Macmillan has a big personality but that we also know the importance of a good work-life balance.
There were loads of friendly enthusiastic Macmillan staff (thanks guys) welcoming delegates with a special edition staff stuff, info postcard, hacky sack (juggling ball), all in a ‘work hard, play hard’ goodie bag for delegates to take away. We also had iPads (Ooooh! swish huh?) for them to sign up to job alerts on.
What do you reckon? I’d love to hear what you think?

8 ways to fab photos at your coffee morning

So it’s that time of year again, hasn’t it flown by? Anyway, so all off us are going or hosting a coffee morning this September and we’ve developed a guide on how to take better photos. Having better quality photos of many coffee mornings gives us more choice and flexibility for our newsletters and marketing materials.

Sneak preview
Take an extra minute to think about the shot. Don’t be scared to move people around, rearrange props or change your mind. Also try capturing the moment with people acting naturally.Think on your feet and try something different.

Are you intrigued? Yes? Then email Kath Simpson at ksimpson@macmillan.co.uk to get your own guide. Plus, this guide will not only transform your coffee morning photos you can use the guide for your own personal collections.

So, what are you waiting for? Get emailing. 
Oh and don’t forget to comment here so we can improve on the guide.

What’s small, furry and fashionable and packed with info?

OK, it’s not that furry, but Rabbit – the new pocket-sized newsletter for our celebrity supporters – does come loaded with stories and facts. And as it’s shortly heading out to our rapidly-growing list of celebrity supporters it’s bound to be seen in all the best places this autumn.

Hopefully the little chap will help encourage even more A-, B- and C-listers to get on board with Macmillan, and those already involved to do even more.

Rabbit is a Lara and Alex co-production.

Go on and celebrate!

Everybody spread the word
We’re gonna have a celebration
All across the world
In every nation
It’s time for the good times
Forget about the bad times, oh yeah…

ermm, yeah, so in 2011 we’re gonna celebrate our centenary, as if you didn’t know already. And to let everyone else know the Sales and Creatives services teams collaborated to produce this lovely calendar.

The calendar came to the creatives team looking looking for some love and attention (check out the before picture). And now it’s ready for you to give it a home.

The calendar has postcards and some funny and interesting facts that you might not know about Macmillan throughout it’s one hundred years.

Go to the online shop now to get yours here

Remember, Mark really wants to hear your thoughts on our new products so if you have a minute please drop us a comment. Thank you.

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