Campaign: Putting Sea Containers on the map
PR team: Golden Goose PR
Timescale: March-June 2012
Sea Containers House on London's South Bank is being developed into a luxury hotel and offices. Owners Archlane hired Golden Goose PR to publicise the change during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
- To attract interest from ABC1 potential tenants and guests
- To build anticipation around the hotel and offices, which open in 2013
- To outshine other commercial property developments on the South Bank during the Jubilee.
Strategy and plan
Golden Goose enlarged a photo of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the Silver Jubilee in 1977. It covered the face of the building with the picture, while construction work continued behind.
The PR team gained approval from Buckingham Palace and the Jubilee flotilla committee to use the photo. It arranged for photographer Jim Marks to retouch parts of the picture to fit the building. It also created a time-lapse film of the project and secured an interview with Tom Dixon, who helped design the new hotel and office space.
A temporary office was set up onboard HMS President, a ship moored opposite Sea Containers House, with a direct view of the poster. From there, the PR team ran a social media campaign on Sea Containers' Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The media received a photocall notice, along with embargoed images of the poster.
On the day it was revealed, to highlight the scale of the 100m-high poster, an abseiler descended the Queen's face as soon as her section of the image was revealed.
After the unveiling, the PR team issued a press release with images to the UK media, and seeded the time-lapse video online.
Measurement and evaluation
Sky, NBC and Reuters film crews attended the reveal. BBC London News and BBC London Weather covered the event, returning the following week to film the Jubilee weekend weather report. The stunt achieved coverage in the London Evening Standard, the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph and Hello. The picture (complete with abseilers) was featured on the front page of the The Sunday Times magazine in December 2012.
Online coverage included the Metro, Huffington Post, Architects Journal, ITV News and International Business Times. It was featured in international media including Wall Street Online, Yahoo, MSN, France 24, the LA Times, ABC News and AOL. BBC Online included Sea Containers in its montage of 'top river pageant moments'. The time-lapse video was watched 46,719 times, with 1,657 clicks through to the Sea Containers website for more information.
A survey by OpinionMatters found that of 1,000 people surveyed across the UK, 36 per cent were made aware of Sea Containers through the poster. Eleven per cent learned that Sea Containers is being transformed into a luxury hotel and offices. Enquiries about the development increased by more than 200 per cent following the campaign.
HINDSIGHT - MIKI HAINES-SANGER, FOUNDING PARTNER, GOLDEN GOOSE PR
The Sea Containers brief excited us from the outset. Because of its location and the fact we knew they were scaffolding the building, our idea to create the wrap was instantaneous.
Our concept was approved within the week. We then had the challenge of turning the production around within a further six weeks - all while securing approval from the council, non-objection from Buckingham Palace and the support of the Jubilee Flotilla committee.
The original photo required a vast amount of improvement to make it look good when blown up as a giant image, but in the hands of the photographic genius Jim Marks we were able to get the picture quality just right.
Obviously we couldn't control the wind speed on the day and almost had to release the abseilers early to complete the wrap before the photocall - but we held on and it paid off.
The only thing we really regret was our lack of success tracking down the original photographer. It turns out the 1977 Jubilee balcony shots were taken by a pool of photographers, many of whom syndicated their shots directly to now defunct picture agencies. Getty was extremely helpful generating leads, and knowing we had interviews lined up with the BBC, ITV and Sky, we even enlisted the help of our genealogy client, Who Do You Think You Are? Live, to appeal for descendants. It would be great to know they'd got the credit for taking not only a brilliant photo, but one which achieved front page news and global broadcast coverage 35 years later.
In order to thoroughly evaluate the impact of our idea, we commissioned a survey through OpinionMatters, revealing:
- Twenty-two per cent of respondents were interested to hear further information about Sea Containers.
- Eight per cent of respondents were key business decision makers.
- Forty-eight per cent felt that Sea Containers was a cultural icon throughout the Jubilee celebrations.