Crown's royal carve-up, Willoughby PR

Campaign: Raise a Roast
Client: Crown Carveries
PR team: Willoughby PR
Timescale: February-April 2011
Budget: £25,695

Mitchells & Butlers pub and carvery chain Crown Carveries wanted to capitalise on the royal wedding and asked Willoughby PR to create coverage.


- To generate hype surrounding the Crown Carveries brand.

- To increase sales in Crown Carveries restaurants and capture regional data.

Strategy and plan

The team devised a campaign featuring a national press stunt, regional press news stories and social media.

A 'fork-trait' of the happy couple was created from ingredients found at a Crown Carvery. Pupils at local schools also competed to design a commemorative plate.

In the ten days before the wedding, customers who brought a commemorative plate from any previous royal wedding into a Crown Carvery would get a free meal.

Measurement and evaluation

The 'fork-trait' generated 82 pieces of coverage in the UK, including three broadcast, five nationals and more than 40 regional newspapers, and featured on Daybreak. The art competition and plate promotion generated a further 85 regional hits.


Forty-six schools took part in the art competition, with more than 3,000 entries. Sixteen-hundred email addresses were added to the Crown Carveries database in a week.


Nicky Weston, Account director, retail and leisure team, Willoughby PR

As the nation's most regal carvery chain, Crown Carveries could not let the royal wedding pass without a royal fanfare. But we knew that we would be up against much bigger budgets in the fight for coverage, so we had to be creative if we were going to stand out.

The brief was simple: use our creativity, experience and regional knowledge to create widespread column inches for Crown Carveries and its 118 restaurants, aligned with the royal wedding celebrations.

Although national coverage was an objective, we knew from experience that this alone would not be enough - we needed a local mechanic to drive that all-important footfall.

We soon established that we needed a multi-pronged approach to meet every objective. We worked up one 'big' creative idea for national hype - a school art competition to generate press interest at restaurant level and a quirky incentive that engaged customers old and new. Together, they formed a comprehensive campaign that far exceeded our client's objectives.

By the time of that balcony kiss, we had secured more than 200 pieces of press coverage worth more than £107,000 AVE, including 55 seconds of flagship breakfast coverage on ITV's Daybreak, as well as on Yahoo, AOL and BBC America online.

Despite fierce competition, our campaign engaged consumers, increased data capture and led the conversation at the busiest time of the year. More importantly, it got people through the doors.

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