Campaigns: Property - Royals grace face of building revamp

Campaign: Putting Sea Containers on the map
Client: Archlane
PR team: Golden Goose PR
Timescale: March-June 2012
Budget: £118,000

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.


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 national press release with images to the UK media, and seeded the time-lapse video online.


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.

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.


The team at Golden Goose delivered an impactful campaign and, by combining such an ambitious building wrap with the most recognisable imagery of the royal family, it was able to capitalise on Jubilee hysteria.

Embarking on a PR campaign that involves such an iconic London building is no easy task.

Golden Goose's approach was shrewd, especially as the building was going to be so prominent in the Jubilee Pageant, which would be viewed by millions. Logistics were managed well, while building excitement and expectation.

Timing was crucial and Golden Goose made sure the stunt was one of the first to capture the nation's hearts, as the Jubilee celebrations started in earnest. Digging deeper into the social activation, it would be interesting to see how this activity could reach a global audience.

It's ironic that the judges at this year's Cannes Lions Festival claimed many entries from the PR world lacked 'the big idea'. Yet again, we see another bold and standout idea from a PR agency. Let's hope the judges in 2013 see the real value that PR delivers.

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