Magic Circle celebrates 100 years of the club

The Magic Circle, dedicated to promoting the art of illusion, boasts 1,600 members in 33 countries. July 2005 marked the club’s centenary, for which four days of events were organised.

Campaign The Magic Circle Centenary
Client The Magic Circle
PR team In-house
Timescale July-December 2005
Budget Undisclosed


Objectives
To maintain the reputation of The Magic Circle and encourage magicians to buy tickets to the celebrations at the society's London headquarters.

Strategy and Plan
Because the main event was only open to members, and the club was not intent on increasing its membership, the priority was managing the public's expectations. The Magic Circle addressed this problem by approaching Royal Mail to create a set of celebratory stamps, while keeping mainstream media relations low key.

To promote the centenary to members, the in-house PR team drip-fed information to specialist media and listings websites. This was intended to build anticipation for the acts that had been booked, including a presentation by 'magic adviser' Paul Kieve, a
special-effects consultant on the Harry Potter films.

Magic Circle members, including Fay Presto, were given material by
the PR team that they could use to promote the centenary to potential corporate clients.

The Magic Circle's retained PR consultant, David Beckley, lined up celebrity magicians, such as Paul Daniels, to talk to print and broadcast media after press releases on the centenary were distributed.

Measurement and Evaluation
Print coverage included articles in The Daily Telegraph and The Lady, and a double-page spread in The Sun. Broadcast coverage ranged from an appearance by Paul Daniels and Debbie Magee on BBC Breakfast – alongside the recently crowned Young Magician of The Year, Steve Dela – to items on The Heaven and Earth Show and GMTV. Details of the centenary were carried by many specialist magic titles and websites, including The Magic Circular, AbraCadabra, Magic Magazine and Magic Week.co.uk.

Results
Tickets to the centenary celebrations sold out with around 1,000 magicians attending. Royal Mail issued a set of five commemorative stamps, using innovative printing technology. Each stamp performed a 'magic trick', such as the first class stamp displaying heads or tails when scratched with a coin.

Royal Mail does not give out detailed information on special stamp sales, although head of commercial PR Patrick O'Neil claims that the stamps appeared on 'tens of millions of letters'.

He adds: 'The stamps were one of our most popular collections last year.'

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