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Arrest your audience
Arrest your audience

As Anastasia is driving back to her apartment, a minibus with blacked-out windows screeches into her path. Armed men with masks jump out and approach the car. Apparently, they are from law enforcement. A plain-clothes female detective turns to her and says “You’re suspected of supplying banned substances.”

They demand to know what’s in a pink box they find in the car. Anastasia says it’s not hers, and one of the men questions her aggressively. Then he rips off his mask, revealing it’s her boyfriend, Sergei. He opens the box to reveal a ring, gets on one knee, and says “Marry me!”

This is known as an Extreme Proposal. Apparently, it’s a thriving business in Russia. 


Well, it’s certainly one way of getting attention.

And if you’re selling anything, whether in business or as a good cause, you’re in the attention-grabbing business.

How do you get the attention of a jaded audience (which they all are)? It’s a perpetual challenge. 

Here’s something we did that worked. We were working on the communications for an Annual Dinner for a charity client. Rather than send the standard ivory board invitation, we had the idea of a video card: a slim card enclosure, which, when you opened it, started playing a short video.



If you think that sounds expensive – you’re right. 

But we got the costs covered by a corporate sponsor, and given that over half a million pounds were at stake at the Dinner, it was a justifiable investment. 

Another key point. A video card may sound gimmicky but in fact, while the format was unusual, the messaging in the video and on the card was in tune with an overall campaign that built up to the Dinner. The Dinner itself raised an extra 32%, year on year.

It seem it’s worth ringing the changes.

We hold occasional (free) half-day workshops on our boat for not-for-profit organisations who want to explore ways of reaching jaded audiences, and other communications and fundraising challenges. If you are interested, contact

Michael Isaacs

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