Blog 6 minute readCompany: Approach PR Campaign: Saving Ilkley Carnival! Category: Low Budget Campaign of the Year - North - WINNER Objective Since 1997 Ilkley Carnival has raised over £80k for its local community. Competing against 22 regional May Day events, the committee of volunteers had halved to five, ticket sales and footfall were down and the event was losing credibility. The carnival was at risk of folding. A major threat was the belief the carnival is council run and should be free to enter. Reluctance to pay for tickets lead to rows at the gates and ploys to “sneak” into the grounds. In 2010, over £3,000 was lost by non-payment leading to insufficient funds to sustain the event. If the community wasn’t re-engaged and re-educated about the volunteer effort and altruistic purpose of the carnival, a 100-year tradition would be lost forever. • Re-engage the community • Re-educate the public on the purpose of the event and the importance of paying for tickets • Increase income through ticket sales and sponsorship • Return Ilkley Carnival to its former glory and secure its future Strategy & target audience 1) Communication Creating a personality behind the carnival and engaging with the community was key. Approach embraced every communication tool possible to saturate our audience with carnival news, updates and conversation. Social media - Created new wording and advised on content of www.ilkleycarnival.org - Introduced online ticket sales via PayPal and supported with media coverage - Created and managed Facebook and Twitter accounts - Sourced sponsor logos for website to maximise value of involvement to businesses Traditional media - Proactive media campaign aimed to secure column inches EVERY week from February to 7th May - Broaden exposure to Leeds, Yorkshire and Bradford press - Broadcast media targeted to convey committee personalities and build the human face of the carnival. Identity - Launched a new logo incorporating the iconic Cow and Calf Rocks - Produced editorial for a newly designed programme - Visited key media contacts to explain this year’s challenge and the importance of exposure - Took our own photographs to maximise every news opportunity 2) Community integration We announced the theme “Summer of Celebration” to give widespread appeal to schools, businesses and maximise media and photo opportunities. School painting competition A carnival tradition is a school’s competition to design the cover of the carnival programme. However, little committee ownership of the competition meant interest was down and press coverage was nil. We: - Secured Bettys Café Tea Rooms as sponsors of the competition - Photographed judging and samples of entries for Facebook - Updated Twitter throughout entry and judging period - Announced the challenge followed by the winners in the media - Photographed the winners and liaised directly with parents - Organised framing of winner’s pictures - Co-ordinated prize giving at the carnival with Bettys Town centre retail Retailer apathy meant the annual “Window Display Competition” depicting the carnival theme received just four entries in 2011. Getting retailers back on side was vital for our integration objective. To encourage interest, Approach sponsored the competition offering one month of free PR to the winner. We: - Posed in a shop window to launch the competition - Canvassed all local retailers - Formalised the competition with official entry forms - Produced posters for retailers taking part to highlight their support and reinforce carnival brand - Created strict judging criteria forms to ensure all judging was fair - Built relationships by visiting every entrant with feedback and acknowledging their efforts - Created media coverage around the winner– Nora’s Interiors and Gifts “Not winning didn’t matter. After years of not taking part we suddenly understood the value. The press coverage and buzz around the carnival made us realise just how important being involved was to the community.” Store Manager, Top Marks The Parade Time stretched parents and teachers meant parade entries had diminished in the last three years. We: - Announced the Summer of Celebration theme in the media and through school letters - Reported “excitement as over 800 children predicted to enter” - Built anticipation by engaging with parents tweeting about making costumes 3) Sponsors and ambassadors Without a budget for celebrities and no recent event success, securing ambassadors and sponsors was a challenge. We: - Created affordable advertising and sponsor packages to involve businesses from £69 to £1,000 - Targeted local business through letters, emails, telephone calls and in person to discuss opportunities - Issued press releases calling for local business support - Maximised local MasterChef finalist Tom Rennolds’ attendance through pre-event media coverage Results 1) To re-engage: • Web hits averaged 50 per day and peaked at nearly 3,000 at the week of the carnival • Over 100 tickets sold online • Parade entrants up 30 per cent on 2011 • Shop window competition entries up 400% on 2011 • 234 Twitter followers @NorasIlkley “What a great day! Brilliant parade and a huge well done to all those involved! @IlkleyCarnival #Ilkley” @skandargeorgie “@IlkleyCarnival You know what I love about carnivals like this? City-wide, they bring the community together and celebrate uniqueness” • Personality communicated through media, photos in the programme, broadcast, Twitter and Facebook 2) To re-educate / increase income · 12 news stories generated · 60 items of news secured · 1.1million audience reach · Included Yorkshire Evening Post, North Leeds Life and Stray FM · Three broadcast hits · 45 sponsor packages sold raising £2,500 profit · Pre-event ticket sales up 349 per cent on 2011 · Trade and charity stall attendance up 53 per cent on 2011 · Secured big brand backing including Morrisons, Bettys and Boyes · £4,000 profits raised to be distributed among local beneficiaries 3) To return Ilkley Carnival to its former glory "With so much support and interest from our community, Ilkley Carnival is officially back to its former glory and we're already looking ahead to next year's event. Thanks to everyone who supported, visited and truly made our day." Carnival Chairman Andrew Stacey “Absolutely, @IlkleyCarnival did a fantastic job. Huge turn out.” Tom Rennolds, Masterchef Finalist “Last day of school this week, with an extra long weekend and the Ilkley Carnival on Monday :D” Georgie Henley, Actress (The Chronicles of Narnia) “With a week to go until the carnival there’s a real buzz. This time last year there was talk of the whole event being cancelled this year due to problems with money and volunteers. Kudos to the organisers for turning it around.” Ilkley More community forum “It’s been a huge success, you must be so pleased. As sponsors, we felt a real affinity with the event. We’ll definitely be involved again next year.” Claire Catton, Branch Manager, Betty’s Café and Tea Rooms And… A fraudster capitalising on the carnival sponsor drive was caught, charged and jailed following awareness generated through print and broadcast coverage Approach created! URLs www.ilkleycarnival.co.uk The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.