Name: Pulpit Puns & Saintly Slogans
Client: Congregational & General Insurance
PR Team: Lucre
Timescale: March-July 2007
Budget: part of a retainer
To raise Congregational’s profile among the Christian community. To drive traffic to its website (www.congregational.co.uk).
Strategy and plan
Something was needed with which a Christian audience could interact and that would get the audience in front of the Congregational brand. The team decided a competition, using the web as the medium to submit entries, would be the most effective vehicle.
If the media were to use the story they would be likely to print the website showing how people could enter. Then there was a chance of a follow-up story when the winner was unveiled.
A member of the Lucre team went on a recce around churches looking for inspiration. Every church visited had a poster outside, displaying a pun-heavy message urging passers-by to visit.
The team felt this was something it could harness for Congregational to ‘own’, so the UK’s first ever Church Poster of the Year competition was launched in March.
The competition was launched on the back of some church posters from the past found on the internet: ‘Come in for a free faith lift’, ‘Fight truth decay’, ‘God, you’re great’, ‘Seven days without prayer makes one weak’, ‘Rooney shoots, Jesus saves’.
So that the story would be taken relatively seriously by the media, a competition judging panel was assembled that included Reverend Bill Snelson, general secretary of Churches Together in England, and Trevor Webb, an award-winning copywriter from international ad agency Leo Burnett. All donated their time for free. Finally to drive traffic yet further, all the entries were available to view online.
Measurement and evaluation
The launch attracted 50 pieces of coverage and the announcement of the winner a further 32. More than 90 per cent of the announcement coverage contained the Congregational website and 60 per cent of non-radio coverage included an image.
Coverage in the faith-based media included the Baptist Times, Christian Today, Church Times, Inspire Magazine, Methodist Recorder and The Good News. National coverage included Metro, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Independent and most of the regional dailies.
UK broadcast highlights included BBC TV’s Heaven & Earth Show, BBC Radio 2’s Aled Jones Good Morning Sunday Show, BBC Radio 4, 12 BBC local radio live Sunday morning interviews, Premier Christian Radio and UCB Christian Radio. It was used across the marketing media and more than 100 websites around the world.
The story also appeared on news, Christian and lifestyle websites in countries including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa. Congregational even did an interview with Canada’s national broadcaster CBC.
Almost 400 individual church poster entries were submitted for the competition and hits to Congregational’s website increased by 209 per cent on launch day. Average hits were up over 156 per cent over the campaign period.