Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Charnwood Borough Council - Don’t Muck Around (Stunt)
28th August 2013
Charnwood Borough Council
Don’t Muck Around - “Ash Mob”
Stunt of the year - South - WINNER
McDonald’s NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Smoking Cessation Service, North West Leicestershire District Council, CCTV at Charnwood Borough Council, Charnwood Youth Council, Loughborough University
- To raise awareness that cigarette ends are litter and dropping them in public places is an offence which can be penalised with an £80 fine
- To raise awareness of the Don’t Muck Around campaign
- To reduce the amount of cigarette litter in three hotspot areas in Charnwood
To maximise the exposure of the campaign using video and social media
Our strategy was to use a high profile, fun and humorous public stunt in busy Loughborough Town Centre which would capture imaginations, get people talking and deliver our message to our target audience of smokers in Charnwood.
We not only wanted to create a public spectacle, but we also wanted to capture the event on video which we could then use to promote the month-long strand of our three-month campaign on social media and the Council’s website.
We planned on using media relations, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, the Council’s website, a creative poster campaign in town centres and council buildings, our residents’ magazine, councillors, internal communications, local businesses and staff to promote the stunt which was designed to launch the Council’s 2012 Don’t Muck Around enviro-crime campaign.
Preparation for the stunt
We wanted a campaign launch with major impact and which created a fun public spectacle. We adapted the idea of a flash mob to create an ‘Ash Mob’ by recruiting 50 volunteers from Council staff, local businesses, NHS staff, Loughborough University and Charnwood Youth Council. We then prepared foam cigarette suits tailored for each of our volunteers.
For filming, we persuaded the Council’s CCTV team to work with us by capturing the event on camera so we could mix raw CCTV footage with on-the-ground HD footage and public reactions to create an edgy and contemporary film.
The costumes were a key element of the ‘Ash Mob’. They needed to be instantly recognisable as cigarettes - within a very tight budget. We sourced the foam from the local market and painted filters and tips on 50 human-sized cigarettes.
All 50 volunteers were then invited to a fitting to ensure their bespoke costume fit properly and they could see where they were going.
On the day
The volunteers met up at the back of McDonald’s in Loughborough town centre where Council staff stapled them into their costumes. The filming started during this process and continued to track the ‘Ash Mob’ descending into the town centre.
They were briefed to walk in pairs from McDonald’s into the town centre in complete silence. Then, on a secret cue, all 50 ‘cigarettes’ lay down simultaneously for five minutes to highlight the problem of cigarette litter.
Spectators reacted differently with a mixture of laughter, bafflement, curiosity and bewilderment. Many people took photographs and we were mentioned on Twitter and Facebook by residents later that day. Some of the reactions were caught on camera by our filmmaker to demonstrate the impact the stunt had caused.
The footage was then edited into a professional and contemporary film
which we uploaded onto the Council’s homepage, YouTube and Facebook for members of the public to view. We promoted it through Twitter, Facebook and staged a premiere of the film at a local school which we also turned into a media relations stunt.
To raise awareness that cigarette ends are litter and dropping them in public places is an offence which can be penalised with an £80 fine:
We carried out an awareness survey before and after the campaign. This showed that the number of respondents who were aware that cigarette litter is an offence which carries an £80 fine rose from 74.6 per cent before the campaign to 93.6 per cent after the campaign – a 19 per cent increase.
To raise awareness of the Don’t Muck Around campaign:
The awareness survey showed that the number of people who had heard about the campaign rose from 40.7 per cent before the campaign to 67.7 per cent after the campaign – a 27 per cent increase.
To reduce the amount of cigarette litter in three hotspot areas in Charnwood:
Pre- and post-campaign monitoring of hotspot areas revealed an overall 43.6 per cent drop in cigarette litter
Overall, the campaign also achieved:
- a 63.4 per cent reduction in dog fouling in hotspot areas
- An 11 per cent increase in awareness of Duty of Care offences
- 115 fixed penalty notices issued to offenders
To maximise the exposure of the campaign using video and social media:
The video received more than 5,800 views across various platforms:
You Tube - 543 (this was our most successful video of all time)
Facebook - 192
CBC Website - 5,106
Total: 5,841 views
Our Facebook page
received 109 likes over the duration of the three-month campaign and had a potential reach of more than 30,000 Facebook users.
The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014
are now open for entries.
Here are this years updated categories.