Lou, after more than 20 years working in the creative and marketing industry you have run over 50 campaigns. Would you be able to choose a “favourite one”?
I would still have to say the Blooming Beautiful Campaign created for Bournemouth, UK. I loved this so much due to it's energy, integration and because the board members took a complete leap of faith in this crazy ‘Aussie’ girl who somehow convinced them to move away from static, predictable marketing and try something more experiential and emotive.
Probably the greatest achievement was convincing the team to ‘wrap Bournemouth Pier’ in the campaign brand. The pier is an iconic destination point for national weather reporting; the promotion opportunity was enormous. However this had never been done before so it took a lot of talking and negotiations and safety testing but we pulled it off.
Being responsible for the entire budget allowed me to be really strategic in what we were trying to achieve which was:
- Increase visitation to Bournemouth in the off-season of Spring.
- Help shift perception of Bournemouth being JUST for the over 50’s
- Attract more of the family and youth market..
The reach of the campaign from both a visual marketing and PR perspective stretched from London directly to the boutique shops in the Coastal suburbs of the town. We achieved both tourists and locals coming together under the one campaign on a very conservative budget.
When a client asks you for a campaign, how do you start?
It always comes down to the end objective. Is it to raise brand awareness? Raise sales? Attract a niche market? Promote a particular product or service?
Every case is different but the underlying rule is that (unless this a new brand reveal) there should be a well-developed brand in place prior to to talking about specifics.
Campaigns are about drawing attention to your brand for a defined period. If the campaign works it means that they are going to take a quick peak at you. You have to look good. Your brand elements have to be in place ready for this. You’ve only got one shot really to capture them and keep them lingering.
With Blooming Beautiful Bournemouth we ensured that all the pieces were in place and consistent. The local businesses were on board, the website was looking great and reflecting the core messages, the competition site was aligned and the media messages spoke in synergy with everything else.
How did you find the right concept? Tell us about that “AHA moment” you always talk about.
I don't know the magic formula but I do know for me I have to let it sit… I become entrenched in the product/service/brand and then let it sit there in the back of my mind. The only way I can describe it is like scrambled words/messages there are working together in the back of my brain. If I am truly in sync with the brand or project I have complete faith that the words and messages will unscramble and suddenly push forward. That always happens… somehow. In the case of Blooming Beautiful Bournemouth, I was in the shower!!
Blooming Beautiful Bournemouth emerged because it was a campaign for spring and because it is ridiculously beautiful. It was part of the Colour your Life brand that we’d implemented one year earlier. I wanted to reflect the vibrancy and fun aspect of spring and move away from static, predictable images.
Having the hero image of a lady running along England’s most famous beach with practically her head covered by flowers added a sense of cheekiness and freedom (oh the discussions over the length of her skirt!!)
I wanted to bring this colour and warmth to the often greyness of London whilst allowing the community and local businesses to get on board too and enact their own interpretations of what this meant for their business.
Giving away flowers on Paddington station was I admit a brilliant idea! What person does not like getting a flower given to them? Gerberas were picked because of the variety of colours available, their innocence (giving away roses might be perceived as being too forward) and merely because they were cheaper and I could actually pull this off within the budget.
Locally businesses were encouraged to make their own businesses ‘blooming beautiful’ and had the opportunity to get free PR coverage by local press and radio via the Blooming Beautiful Business competition.
This was in 2013 after the GFC; people wanted something to be positive about, to get that energy and motivation about and to feel a love for their destination again.
Once you give a name to the campaign, we have to execute it. How did you involve the Bournemouth community? What were the steps to make the businesses and local people care about this?
As this whole campaign was part of a BID (Business Improvement District) it was essential that the locals got behind it. This was done first by getting sign off by the board members (approximately 15 people who owned a local business or were in a senior role around town).
3 separate workshops were held with invitations extended to every single business so they could see the plans for the campaign and ask as many questions as they liked.
A full suite of marketing materials and images were supplied that could be used within individual businesses.
We incentivised the businesses for more participation. Free media exposure and the chance to win £2K of advertising are big incentives for small business.
We invited all the businesses to a beautiful party at the end of the campaign where we announced the finalists and winners.
We involved local print and radio to bring this to life and give it momentum.
We planted fake flowers on the beach, wrapped the pier and adorned the streets with the branding of the campaign.
What material, actions and channels were required to develop the campaign?
Bournemouth Tourism activated their website to work in synergy with the campaign.
We had street banners, bus wraps, bus shelter advertising, fliers for businesses, digital assets, a microsite for the competition, media, Facebook, 3000 gerberas, ribbons, pull up banners – there was a lot!!
Logistically organising promotional people and 3000 gerberas on Paddington Station was interesting!! We contracted the services of a London Media agency to assist with this, who were fantastic. We also did some referral marketing ran an digital remarking campaign and a niche radio campaign to a heavy classical music base in London to ensure we kept faith with the primary target base.
What did Bournemouth achieve with this campaign?
A 15% increase on visitation over that Spring period.
We had £65K of free publicity from London alone and £30K of publicity locally; this was more than the cost of the entire campaign.
We had increase foot fall in local business and more than anything a renewed energy and pride for the town. There were over 2,500 votes in the Blooming Beautiful Business Competition.
Over 20 individual small businesses received free publicity over this period. This campaign really was about integrating tourism and local economic growth.