How smart media investment delivered transformative change for MSF

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2022

MSF is a charity who are heavily reliant on fundraising income to support its life saving work. This case describes how MSF more than doubled its annual income over a 10-year period in which charitable giving sharply declined. MSF’s case demonstrates that by taking a long-term approach to short term activation, a virtuous circle has been created between increased fundraising income and growth in media spend, which in turn drives income further. This approach has been powered by audience insight, evidence-based decision-making and close collaboration between client and agency specialists.

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We have learned a lot and changed many of our ways of working since starting work with M.i. Media. Focussing our attention closely on core audiences and running structured tests have allowed us to learn a lot more about how they interact with different media channels and formats.

We’ve also learned how to strike the right balance between volume and value, positioning different asks in different media and with varying ask levels dependent on the nature of the appeal. Our work with M.i. throughout this period has been critical, particularly developing better use of our existing data and introducing new measurement techniques, be it custom approaches to measuring core media (e.g. tailored TV Squared Adeffect modelling) or full channel attribution through helping to introduce econometric modelling. Combining proper measurement with a steady test and learn approach we’ve established how to increase investment over time without hitting diminishing returns or saturating and alienating core audiences.

Also, through introducing new ways of working (e.g. sprint sessions) we have learned how to drive better collaboration which has been key to the success of running integrated campaigns across multiple channels. The agile and data led planning approach they have taken has helped show us in emergencies (particularly recently over Covid) how we can phase budget effectively and bring in relevant advertising channels at the right times to maximise returns. By embracing new technology and new approaches we have fundamentally changed our ways of working over the last 10 years and made huge strides in understanding our market and audience. Of course the most important learning is how much more we can do and to stay ahead in a challenging sector we need to continually push ourselves to fine tune our strategy and approach so that we can continue to bring in much needed funds.

Shona Barnes, Campaigns Manager
Médecins Sans Frontières

Winners 2022

Bronze Winner


How smart media investment delivered transformative change for MSF


Médecins Sans Frontières UK


Médecins Sans Frontières UK


M.i. Media

Principal Authors

  • Richard Slater - M.i. Media

Contributing Authors

  • Andy Brander - M.i. Media
  • Craig Gallacher - M.i. Media
  • Nathan Kerr - M.i. Media

Credited Companies

  • Crafted - Digital Agency

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