Rising to the Challenge | Electric Ireland and Darkness into Light

Client: Electric Ireland

Project: Darkness into Light 2020: Sunrise Appeal

Primary Platform: RTÉ Television and Radio



Pieta, a mental health charity preventing suicide and self-harm and offering face to face therapy and phone service to people in danger, organises an annual flagship walk called “Darkness Into Light”, which was indefinitely postponed due to the world pandemic. Donations were down due to the crisis, yet demand for Pieta’s services continued to rise.

Therefore, Pieta invited people to watch the sunrise from their homes and share their photos online while RTÉ’s mission was to promote and support the “Sunrise Appeal”, so that people around the country could come together, while apart.

Electric Ireland has supported Darkness into Light since 2013, working with Pieta to bring hope to customers, staff and communities across Ireland that have been affected by suicide.



The partnership with Pieta is an important one for Electric Ireland as they hope to bring to light the often under-discussed issues of mental health and suicide. The objectives of the campaign  were two-fold:

  • To increase awareness of the “Sunrise Appeal” which was replacing “Darkness into Light” for 2020 due to Covid-19.
  • To raise as much money as possible for Pieta to support the services they provide.



With this in mind, RTÉ and Spark Foundry, an Irish media agency and part of Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, set out to leverage the scale and reach of their platforms. In doing so, Electric Ireland and Pieta could spread their message, better reach their audience and bring people together in one very unique, special moment.

Following Covid-19, many charities were facing a critical funding situation; therefore the challenge was to cut-through audiences ‘emotional fatigue’ and build a connection which would drive fundraising.

To generate as much awareness as possible, the nationwide cross-platform campaign was needed with a mix of audio, social, editorial content, AV and TV for the maximum reach. Each medium was to deliver a multi-faceted and far-reaching campaign with a strong message spreading hope and love among the Irish public. Electric Ireland and RTÉ would partner and call on the public to support Pieta’s urgent appeal for donations and join the virtual “Sunrise” event on May 9 to mark the postponed flagship event.

This year saw a Darkness Into Light like no other for Electric Ireland and Pieta; with the news that Covid 19 restrictions meant a physical Darkness Into Light event was no longer possible, it was important that we stood by our partner during this challenging time, to bring people together whilst staying apart, and raise critical funds for Pieta’s life-saving services.

Maeve Galvin, Sponsorship Programme Manager, Electric Ireland



First, the campaign’s radio activity began with a 2FM partnership, including live mentions by presenters, on-air promos and website call out two weeks before the “Sunrise” on May 9. The radio part of the campaign helped to bring focus to this virtual event. Then the editorial content through radio interviews followed, with Brand Ambassadors Louise Cooney, Hannah Tyrrell and Levi Clarkin on several flagship shows which greatly helped drive traction around the event.

A second element of the cross-platform campaign was the social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with viral hashtags #DIL2020, #DILSunriseappeal and the Electric Ireland handle. RTÉ’s huge following on these social platforms allowed the campaign to reach a wide audience across Ireland.

The final component of the campaign was its TV presence. The TV campaign began with two contextual ad breaks in The Late Late Show for Electric Ireland, lasting 3 minutes each and made up of a long form ad of 2.32 minutes and a shorter 30 second which aired at the beginning and at the end of the show.


On the morning of “Darkness Into Light: Sunrise Appeal”, there was a radio broadcast of a “Sunrise Special”, supporting the initiative with uplifting music and messages of hope raising the spirit of the audience.

Within the News on May 9, RTÉ aired innovative 3-minute ads featuring over 100 pieces of content (videos and photos) of magical sunrise moments that were captured on mobile devices by the public to express the support and unity of the Irish spirit. These ads were created by RTÉ’s in-house creative team in one day to highlight the powerful message of the Sunrise Appeal and to promote the support that this campaign had across the country.



The results of this cross-platform campaign indicate that the contextual TV ad break takeovers reached over 744,000 of adults. The average TV rating was 12.87 while 20.5% of all adults viewed both these ad breaks for at least one minute and ranging up to 7.6% of those viewing at least 3 minutes.

Overall donations to Pieta as a result of the campaign exceeded €4,000,000 including a €100,000 donation from Electric Ireland. This matched previous years where the organisation was able to hold its popular “Darkness into Light” event and was considered a huge success by both Electric Ireland and Pieta.


The Darkness Into Light Sunrise Appeal rallied the nation and thanks to our partnership with RTE and the generosity of the Irish public, its success allows Pieta to continue to provide it’s free life-saving services.

Maeve Galvin, Sponsorship Programme Manager, Electric Ireland