CAMPAIGNS: Event PR - Warwick Uni exploits the Clinton factor

Client: Warwick University

Client: Warwick University

PR Team: In-house

Campaign: Bill Clinton visit

Timescale: November - December 2000

Budget: pounds 55,000

On 14 December 2000 Bill Clinton and Tony Blair visited Warwick University, where the latter gave his last major policy speech outside the US before his presidency ended.



Objectives

To secure Clinton's visit to Warwick; with this achieved, the main objectives were to raise Warwick's profile; to communicate the university's core messages (eg on quality of research and social inclusion); to make a strong link between Warwick and the visit; to improve visibility of Warwick branding in press coverage.



Strategy and Plan

Two weeks before 14 December, 25 security staff affiliated with the US president checked out Warwick. This was an opportunity for the in-house team to press Warwick's case as the best choice because of its work on the issues of globalisation and international affairs. Previous PA work helped sway Number 10 towards Warwick.

The visit was confirmed just eight days before it happened, so the project took on a crisis management element. There was a temporary expansion of the in-house PR team from three to seven. Phoenix Television was hired to produce a VNR and live webcast. Branded banners, backdrops and podia were sorted.



Measurement and Evaluation

For pounds 5,000, Echo Research analysed more than 200 articles and spoke to more than 1,000 adults to guage the impact.

Sixteen per cent spontaneously recalled that Clinton visited Warwick as opposed to any other university, and five per cent said their perception of Warwick had risen.

There were more than 100 articles and several in-depth features about Warwick (eg ft.com and Sunday Business), with many stressing the university's core messages. The live webcast was the UK's most popular ever news-based webcast and BT had to upgrade the server and bandwidth capability halfway through. The website received over 200,000 hits during and following the visit.



Results

The long-term impact is still being assessed but the number of potential students requesting information on Warwick has increased substantially.





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