Campaigns: Tourism & leisure - Jersey shines on UK weather maps

Campaign: Putting Jersey on the Weather Map
Client: Jersey Tourism
PR team: Seventy Seven PR
Timescale: July 2010
Budget: £10,000

Jersey Tourism asked retained agency Seventy Seven PR to promote the message that it has more sunshine hours than anywhere else in the UK. It wanted the UK public to realise that Jersey has great weather despite being just a short journey from the mainland. It was also keen to get more coverage outside of the travel pages.

Objectives

- To secure media coverage outside the travel pages

- To get at least 500 people to sign a petition to get Jersey on the weather map

- To raise awareness that Jersey has the most sunshine hours in the UK.

Strategy and plan

Seventy Seven PR wanted to move away from traditional 'reinforcement' tactics and use 'disruptive' activity that would grab attention and prompt reappraisal among a new audience.

Jersey Tourism was worried the island missed out on tourism revenues each year because its position and weather were not shown on UK media weather reports. Seventy Seven PR devised a campaign to 'put Jersey on the weather map'.

The agency monitored BBC and ITV weather forecasts as well as national newspapers for references to Jersey's weather over four weeks. It looked at whether there was a temperature marker for Jersey and if so, how it correlated with the temperature reported by the Jersey Met Office. It found the island was only given a temperature marker in 30 per cent of forecasts and its local weather was mentioned in just five per cent. Over a period of four weeks, the temperature in Jersey was also reported as being lower than the actual temperature in 24 out of the 26 forecasts in selected national newspapers.

Seventy Seven PR started an online petition to get Jersey on the weather map and circulated it to on-island partners - hoteliers, local businesses and residents. It was sent to Jersey 'fans' via Jersey Tourism's own Facebook and Twitter channels. The Jersey Evening Post, local TV and radio stations also supported the campaign.

When the petition had hit 1,000 signatures, the agency sent the story to forward planning desks a week in advance, then to social affairs correspondents and newsdesks days before the 'go live' date of 29 July.

Measurement and evaluation

In total 136 articles were generated, including 13 broadcast pieces on 29 and 30 July alone. The campaign achieved 44 pieces of non-travel page coverage.

The story featured on every main BBC radio station except BBC Radio 3. GMTV focused on Jersey in weather bulletins. The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, The Guardian and Daily Mirror covered the story. It also received coverage in France, with interviews on France 1 and Europe 1 radio, Reuters and Bloomberg.

The key 'sunshine culture' message was found in 84 articles and 50 per cent featured a key message.

Results

More than 1,200 people signed the petition. Jersey Tourism has invested in software to provide more accurate and timely feeds to forecast providers on the mainland.

SECOND OPINION

Kevin Gibson, PR account director, Hills Balfour

Launched in the height of a very British summer when everyone was searching for that so-called sunshine, I remember this campaign as bringing a ray of light to short-haul travel. By using 'forecast discrimination' as the spearhead, Seventy Seven PR managed to lift the key message of Jersey's amount of sunshine hours into a national news story, which pointed its finger sternly at the BBC for its wrongdoings.

A key factor in the overall success was taking on the BBC as the most frequent offender for incorrect or lack of weather information. In turn, this most probably led to the story being featured on almost every main BBC radio station. The strategy made a great broadcast talking point and allowed other media outlets to jump on the Jersey bandwagon to highlight the lack of correct information and rally for the underdog.

Using local press and island inhabitants would have enabled a cost-effective approach, while spreading the message through social media generated a much wider buzz. I also really liked the island resident petition to bring a sense of human interest.

By taking the story off the travel pages, the campaign managed to not only raise awareness of Jersey's weather, but also its geographical location for potential visitors. Through commitment to the cause, and ongoing software developments to feed information back to the mainland, I think the overall campaign will have had a positive impact.

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