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ActionAid beats off those Monday blues, Golden Goose PR

Campaign: The ActionAid Happy Bubble
Client: ActionAid
PR team: Golden Goose PR
Timescale: January 2011
Budget: £25,000

Golden Goose PR was asked to create a stunt to support the launch of ActionAid's wider 'What a Feeling!' advertising campaign and to support digital and social media work. The stunt needed to reach existing and potential supporters, and get people talking about ActionAid and its work.


- To engage with 5,000 potential new supporters through social media

- To help change people's perceptions of what it means to support ActionAid

- To boost Facebook and Twitter followers.

Strategy and plan

Activity began with a survey of 1,000 people by Opinion Matters on what made them feel happy.

The results showed that the 'best things in life are free', which provided a hook for the media story.

The location for the stunt itself was Finsbury Avenue Square, in the heart of the City of London, with a potential footfall of 220,000 on the day. Proximity to Liverpool Street station meant that ActionAid could reach people travelling to and from places outside of London, as well as City workers.

ActionAid and Golden Goose PR created the Happy Bubble, where those 'happy things in life that are free' were offered to passers-by.

The event ran on Blue Monday, 17 January, dubbed the most depressing day of the year, which offered a further hook for the media.

Those passing on the day were treated to free hugs, breakfast, smoothies from Innocent and cupcakes from Crumbs and Doilies. Space Hoppers and Big Traks were donated to play with and a giant Lego sunflower was one of the focal points for photographs. Free massages and aura portraits were also given away, plus shelter from the relentless Blue Monday rain.

For social media engagement, ActionAid managed a live Twitter feed with pictures taken throughout the day.

The Happy Bubble was registered with Foursquare, so people using the GPRS tracking site with their smartphones near the event were invited to come along for free cake and Mornflake porridge.

Facebook was also used to invite guests in advance. Local radio interviews were conducted live at the event.

The PR team contacted the headquarters of TUT, an independent social media movement based in Florida, which sends a daily 'feel-good' email to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. TUT sent an email to all 7,000 of its London subscribers inviting them to the Happy Bubble.

Measurement and evaluation

Coverage included pieces in City AM, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Daily Express, Metro, The Guardian and i. The story was covered on websites including the Mail Online, metro.co.uk, daybreak.co.uk and telegraph.co.uk.


On 17 January, ActionAid had 4,447 visits to its website, a 104 per cent rise on the previous Monday.

On the same day, there were 2,565 active users on its Facebook page.


Zoe Sobol, Partner, Golden Goose PR

ActionAid required a quick-fire response to the brief. Once activity was agreed internally, Golden Goose PR had four weeks to deliver what was a first for this charity - an event that offered pure brand talkability rather than one focusing solely on engaging new charitable donors.

The four weeks for planning and delivering the project fell over Christmas, and offered little time to engage with third-party brands for partnership on the event.

It was therefore key that any partners met simple criteria: identifiable and credible brands, on 'happy' message and keen to donate their product for free.

If the turnaround time had been longer, Golden Goose PR is certain it could have quadrupled the number of partners and added further brand clout to its activity.

With such short leads on delivery, it was key that grand ideas, including promoting key messages, were scaled back to ensure correct interpretation of the event.

To bring the focus back to the developing world, the feel-good activity took place next to two giant plasma screens featuring rolling, subtitled footage of third-world communities that need our help. ActionAid ambassadors were on hand to engage with crowds and explain how more help would allow them to carry on with their work.

The campaign was simple and effective. With hindsight, more planning and execution time would have allowed for higher visibility via partnership engagement and, in turn, use of their respective social media channels for more widespread impact.


- Patricia Lima, former head of PR at ActionAid, said: 'The ad campaign was cleverly created into a story, inviting thousands of people to join in and making it relevant for the broadsheet media that reaches many of our target demographic. Feedback from old and new supporters shows that people started to associate ActionAid with happiness.'

- Feedback from the third-sector community was so positive that there has been a suggestion of a touring Happy Bubble. Golden Goose PR is keen to pursue the possibility of a Happy Bubble for every city in 2012.

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