Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Lucre - Where Did You Get That Hat? (Media Relations)
13th August 2013
Company: Lucre Campaign: Where Did You Get That Hat? Category: Media Relations Campaign of the Year - North - Shortlisted Objective • To establish the University of Leeds’ research work as being entirely relevant to modern life and as making a valuable contribution to the saving of the planet • To bring this research to the attention of the wider public, particularly potential students and prospective academic and business partners • To demonstrate how complex scientific theory can be made easily understandable by the lay person, without losing any of the important technical messages Strategy & Target Audience Target audiences: • Keen gardeners who wanted to know more about pollination and sustainable gardening • Those new to gardening • Potential students, existing and prospective academic and business partners • Key media, including international publications The campaign was conducted via both traditional and social media channels, the latter specifically designed to introduce a younger demographic to the UofL’s world-class research that underpinned the central concepts of the garden. The media relations campaign focused on bringing the messages of the garden, specifically pollination, but also carbon and water management and keeping an area of your garden messy to facilitate wildlife, to the wider public via press releases and one-to-one interviews with relevant journalists. At the same time, an integrated social media campaign focused on a bespoke UofL Facebook Gardening page and a bespoke, interactive Garden Facebook App. YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter were also brought into play to assist in driving traffic primarily to the Facebook page. The Garden App encouraged visitors to leave their sustainable gardening tips and spot prizes were awarded to the tips with the most “likes”. This encouraged engagement with the garden’s messages and underlined the groundbreaking research carried out at the University. All PR outreach was designed to support the UofL’s desire to gain as big a splash as possible in the media on RHS Chelsea 2012 Press Day. Knowing the University would be competing for media attention with the show gardens, whose budgets for publicity dwarfed that of the University and also traditionally rely heavily on celebrity endorsement, Lucre’s strategy focused on creativity. The agency therefore concentrated on ensuring a photo opportunity that would encapsulate the flair and excitement of the show whilst simultaneously ensuring the key message – gardeners should eschew sterile bedding plants and instead choose pollinator-friendly flowers – was unmissable. This would be achieved via Lucre commissioning a Yorkshire florist to make a huge, Ascot-style hat out of the garden itself, worn at the show by a UofL alumni. Action A series of press releases were issued detailing the UofL’s research, the most popular of which (with the media) being a PhD thesis that found bees preferred working class, messy urban gardens to the manicured lawns of more affluent areas. Regional broadcast media were invited to film the garden being loaded, plant by plant, onto a lorry for transportation to Chelsea, with interviews conducted with the academic staff to further disseminate the key messages and highlighting the University’s reputation for excellence. Press packs were compiled, with all the relevant information and photos uploaded onto memory sticks, and those sticks put into individually branded UofL packets of pollinator-friendly seeds. The decision was made to take the first media call of Press Day, often seen as the graveyard slot for photography, but the agency knew that to grab front pages of that day’s print media it was imperative the media got the shot early enough to make evening editions and to steal a march on the customary celebrity at the show shots. This calculated risk, teamed with true creativity and imagination, paid off. On the show’s press day, it was a Leeds graduate wearing the University’s pollinator-friendly hat, not the massed ranks of world famous celebrities, who grabbed all the media attention, including two front pages. Results The overall campaign ran for 11 weeks and generated 66 pieces of coverage across international, national, regional, consumer, broadcast, trade and online titles. Key achievements included an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live and gaining a splash on the front page of the Evening Standard which carried the ‘University of Leeds’ in its headline and a front page splash in The Yorkshire Evening Post. The photo of the hat was published by many international publications including the Washington Post and Australia Better Homes and Gardens, thus meeting the objective of demonstrating how complex scientific theory can be made easily understandable by the lay person, without losing any of the important technical messages. In addition, key academic journals including The Ecologist covered the story, as did Horticulture Today and the New Scientist. The following day, the UofL’s garden won the show’s highest accolade, a Gold medal. The campaign met the objective of bringing its research to the attention of the wider public, particularly potential students and prospective academic and business partners, through the generation of 432,140,511 opportunities to see. In addition, the Facebook page gained 522 likes, 187 people were recorded as talking about it, and the Garden App had over 200 users. The UofL reported excellent feedback from its sponsors, including the Natural Environment Research Council, its students and staff and a noticeable spike in visits to the University’s website, thus meeting the objective of establishing the University of Leeds’ research work as being entirely relevant to modern life and as making a valuable contribution to the saving of the planet. Thanks in no small part to the huge success of the PR campaign, the University has decided to enter RHS Chelsea again in 2014. The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.