Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, PIPINO, Melanie
Charity fundraising in the UK was a deep red ocean when Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day started. Costs were up and donations were down. To stand out from the crowd, organizations had to work harder at fundraising and marketing. Yet Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day rapidly achieved 96 percent national brand awareness and has now raised over £1 billion without spending anything on marketing. Its flagship event, held once every two years, is almost a national holiday in the UK. The case reveals how Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day redefined the problem of the charity-giving industry – from how to get the wealthy to give out of guilt, to how to get everyone ‘to do something funny for money’ – thus reconstructing the market boundaries. It understood how to create new demand by looking to nondonors and what turned them off (the blocks to giving). In so doing, it erected formidable barriers to imitation – cognitive, organizational, economic, and legal. Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day enduring success relies on the alignment of its value, profit and people propositions. It can be used to teach the following Blue Ocean concepts: (1) the Buyer Utility Map; (2) the Three Tiers of Noncustomers; (3) Barriers to Imitation; and (4) Disruptive versus nondisruptive creation. This case comes with a teaching note and a short video showing students what Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day is.