Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund

Helping Families All At Sea

At Spider, we LOVE working with charities. So when military charity the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund (RNRMCF) asked us to help it make a big splash on the national stage, we were only too happy to oblige.

With military affairs not always the highest priority for the media, we donned our creative thinking caps (at a jaunty, naval angle) to develop an emotive campaign that explored what happens to families when a parent goes away for a long period. To do this, we pioneered the psychological concept of Kid Years – the idea that children perceive time more slowly than adults – and brought this to life in the form of a kid’s book called Zoe and the Time Rabbit. The book, distributed to 3,000 families, was the heart of a powerful campaign to win hearts and minds.

visits to the Kid Years campaign page

people reached in the first two months,


engagement rate against an industry average of 2%

The Client

The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund is the only charity dedicated to supporting children whose parents serve, or have served, in the Naval Service.

The Children’s Fund provides support including childcare, special needs education, days out and in-home support in times of crisis. In the last year alone, The RNRMCF has supported over 1,500 children.

They Said

As with lots of smaller charities, the RNRMCF sometimes finds it hard to be heard on the national stage. With our track record of successful campaigns, the RNRMCF gave us a blank canvas to create a campaign that would not only creatively raise awareness among naval families, but also among senior military officials and even government.

With no major military conflicts at the time of the campaign, we knew we had our work cut out to put military families back on the news agenda.

Spider approached our brief with real creativity, working to create the most wonderful resource in Zoe and the Time Rabbit. Not only has the campaign raised huge amounts of awareness for our charity and made a massive impact in the naval community, Zoe and the Time Rabbit is significantly helping naval families with one of the biggest issues they face

Clare Scherer, CEO of Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund

Challenge Accepted

‘Navy families’ is a bit of a niche audience, so we developed an integrated campaign that attracted widespread mainstream media attention, while social media activity would target naval families directly. We put military families back in the public eye by focusing on one of the biggest challenges military families face – long parental absences – and set out to develop a campaign that created a genuine solution while raising huge amounts of awareness.

We pioneered the psychological concept of “Kid Years” – the idea that children feel the passage of time slower than adults do, making absences feel longer and more challenging.

To bring this idea to life, we commissioned an original children’s book – Zoe and the Time Rabbit – written by a noted author alongside a child psychologist to help children deal with their emotions while their parents were away. This was then turned into a charming animated video for use on social.

Our integrated charity public relations campaign included:

  • Attention-grabbing campaign in print and online media
  • Dedicated social campaign including extensive use of influencers
  • 3,000 copies of Zoe and the Time Rabbit distributed throughout naval community
  • Case studies family to bring the narrative to life
  • Lobbied high level Ministers and MPs
  • Thousands of actual Time Rabbits knitted by members of the public and sent to naval families

Job Done

Our integrated campaign delivered:

  • 260m opportunities to see, watch or hear media coverage (including very extensive coverage across the BBC and in military media)
  • 18,000 post engagements on social with a total reach of 345,000 (with a media spend of just £1,000)
  • An engagement rate of 6% vs. an industry average of 2%
  • Support from numerous UK celebrities and public figures including Paddy Ashdown, MP
  • A public affairs campaign
  • A huge response from naval families
  • 7k visits to the Kid Years campaign page with 369 then visiting the those seeking assistance page.

What We Learnt

Charities need to make every penny count and that’s why a here-today, gone-tomorrow campaign just doesn’t cut the mustard. The best public relations campaigns not only affect genuine cut-through, they create long-lasting change. The issue of parental absence isn’t just one that affects military families, in affects us all and Zoe and the Time Rabbit will be just as useful a resource for families in 10 years’ time as it is today.


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