PR team: Taylor Herring
Timescale: December 2009-March 2010
Google launched Street View in 2009 with an initial roll-out of 25 key UK cities. There was some negative media coverage around the launch and public concern about privacy issues.
For the second stage roll-out in 2010, which would see most of the UK covered by Street View, the company wanted a campaign to help offset any negative publicity and highlight the benefits and uses of the tool.
- To launch the second stage of Street View
- To reassure the public and highlight the benefits of Street View
- To show the positive aspects of Street View to local communities and businesses.
STRATEGY AND PLAN
The idea was to run the Google Street View Awards - a nationwide PR campaign to celebrate the best streets in the UK. The award categories were Most Picturesque Street, Best Foodie Street and Best Fashion Street. Once a shortlist was compiled with a panel of experts, the idea was to put this to a national vote using a Google microsite.
The PR team pulled together the panel of experts for each category such as fashion designers, magazine editors, TV presenters and senior journalists.
These panels provided nominations for each category, and using a partnership with VisitBritain, the shortlist of 50 streets was put together.
A microsite was set up for the awards, which would play host to a national poll. The awards were launched in February through national media. Bespoke press releases were prepared for each region and local spokespeople lined up to provide comment. Local business case studies were also put together.
The PR team worked with regional tourist boards and local authorities to raise awareness in local communities and encourage people to vote for their local street. A 'radio day' with Ed Parsons from Google was set up a week after the launch, to drive another wave of voting.
Once voting was closed, the PR team announced the winners to the nationals, leading on the 'most picturesque street' category, and sold in stories about the three winning streets to regional publications.
Results were given to local businesses and media two days before the announcement was made, so the PR team could put together photocalls including with local mayors.
MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION
Coverage appeared in national publications including the Daily Mirror, Metro, The Scottish Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Independent. Additionally, the campaign generated coverage in 85 regional titles, 60 regional radio stations and four national radio stations, while 251 stories appeared online.
There were more than 11,000 public votes cast in the Street View Awards, over a three-week period. There is potential for the awards to become an annual event.
SECOND OPINION - Mark Lowe, Director, Band & Brown
Pit town against town and you're bound to get Britain shouting at itself. That's what this campaign did and it worked a treat.
National awards may be a yawn-worthy PR staple, but the beauty here was the execution. To elevate your awards above the trillion others out there, you need to throw everything at it.
With a clutch of reasonably priced celeb judges, 60 local ambassadors and a 'geo-spatial technologist', no visible stop was left un-pulled.
Of course, with local papers now the preserve of the superannuated, regional PR isn't what it once was. So it's great that the team used technology to reach younger local groups and get them talking. It would be good to see clearer engagement metrics though - tweeting to 6,000 people is one thing; getting them chatting to each other about your brand is a subtler art.
In more conventional ways, this campaign also did the business by securing concurrent mega-features in the Mirror and The Sunday Times. The depth of regional coverage is eye-watering given the ten-week turnaround.
The content also made for some stunning imagery. My heart skipped when I saw a town near where I grew up pictured in The Guardian. Doubtless others felt the same.
For me, just one question mark hangs over the match to the stated objective: 'reassurance about privacy'. If anything, this campaign makes me feel more nervous about Google's power. I wonder if others felt that too?