PayPal: Turkey Dash

​Christmas… a time for turkey, a time for giving. We combined the two when we took a great idea and created a new national media event for PayPal to support its own Fund for UK charities. It’s a brand keen to show a cashless society isn’t a heartless one. Brokering a unique partnership with Channel4 – including the use of celebrities to add sparkle - we staged the PayPal Turkey Dash, a live race of Aardman Animation turkeys all powered by public donations. Three weeks before the race we began encouraging people to back a bird by donating via their phones.

Like Comment

Charities rely on goodwill every season, not just Christmas. Yes, support to UK good causes was up last year - 61% of people donated £9.7b – but for people aged 18-34 this was increasingly time not money. Compounding the issue is that 2017 saw cash became the minority payment (46% of all transactions), especially among that same younger demographic who run their lives via their phones and rarely have ready cash to pop in collection buckets.

PayPal doesn’t believe that a cashless society should mean a heartless one so it launched the ‘PayPal Giving Fund’. It enables 100% of donations made via the ‘Donate’ button on the PayPal app to go straight to charities.

Our job was to focus on the Fund and get people –the younger demographic was key - to use the button and give. We took the battle for donations off the high street and into front rooms.

We needed to take charitable giving off the street where it was failing to grab the attention of those unlikely to be carrying cash for rattling buckets. And they do say charity begins at home.

We identified an evening of Christmas television as a new giving moment. A moment where people are happy, keen to get into the festive spirit and have their phone close to hand.

But we needed more than a tug on the heart strings. We needed something people could feel positive about participating in to make a difference. We needed something with an event feel – entertaining first and foremost, to pave the way for donations.

Aardman Animations created the PayPal Turkey Dash - a race with eight animated turkeys. Each represented a charity, powered by donations. The more cash pledged to a certain turkey/charity, the faster their performance on the night of the big race. 

We launched on Giving Tuesday on November 28th 2017 and set the turkeys loose across TV, social and digital channels

Aardman even animated TV star Scarlett Moffatt to lead Bird Bootcamp training sessions with the turkeys and remind people how to get involved. The training of each turkey was tailored to the area of expertise of each charity so the public could see how their donations were helping the birds shape up.

The charities were all off the blocks immediately, building support for their runners via their own media and networks.

Donations were valid right upto the live event which ran during an ad break in Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.  Commentators Steve Jones of F1 fame and Olympian Steve Cram gave the event sporting gravitas.

Captain McStuffing for the RNLI won it by a giblet. A Facebook Live event followed with all eight charities joining a PayPal hosted celebration. 


No “poultry” effort:

  • Turkey Dash connected to 76% of 18-34s an average seven times and 1.3M people tuned in for the race.
  • PayPal charity awareness increased from 8% to 13%.
  • Donate button usage rose from 26% to 33%.
  • 47% of people exposed to the campaign got involved and supported a turkey.
  • In total the PayPal Turkey Dash raised £177k, an increase of +978% for the eight featured charities against the same ‘Giving Tuesday’ period in 2016.

The activity deepened relationships with charity partners and has significantly increased interest from other charities wishing to get involved to make this an annual event to become as anticipated as the John Lewis Christmas ad.

It’s also established a new base of supporters for charities to continue to activate and hopefully ensure that a cashless generation can continue to keep giving.

Havas Media

We are passionate about helping our clients create Meaningful Brands by reimagining valuable experiences. Our smart thinking around enhancing customer experience means we deliver more measurable, meaningful experiences between brands and people. We are committed to building a diverse culture where everybody feels they belong, can be themselves, thrive and grow.