Client: Yorkshire Water
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Completion of £200m sewerage scheme in Hull
Timescale: July - August
Budget: Three bottles of spirits for the lifting crew and two bottles of
wine for the car dealership
Since 1998 Yorkshire Water has been constructing a £200m sewerage
system in Hull, ending the decades-old practice of discharging raw
sewage into the Humber Estuary.
The 'HumberCare' project consisted of a new treatment works on the edge
of the city and a 10km tunnel to take sewage away from 350,000 people's
The story had been covered extensively in the local press, but it had
not been picked up much outside Hull. The challenge was to get message
out that Hull had completed such an ambitious project and was no longer
polluting the sea.
Strategy and Plan
Trying to decide what could possibly interest the wider media in a new
sewage system, the team remembered scenes from cult film The Italian Job
in which Mini Coopers were driven through sewers of Turin to make a
With the co-operation of the local Mini dealership and a company
specialising in lifting cargo from ships, the team was able to stage
their own 'Hull Job' version as a press stunt.
A brand-new Mini Cooper was lowered 60ft and reporters took turns to be
driven along the sewer pipes.
Measurement and Evaluation
A dozen journalists attended the event and the story was widely
At a national level, it appeared in press as diverse as The Financial
Times, OK! magazine, The Daily Telegraph (twice) and The Daily Sport,
alongside almost all the regional media.
It was also featured internationally in newspapers in Australia and
Teaming up with the local car dealership that wanted to promote the new
Mini was clearly an inspired move.
The resultant coverage testifies to the strength of the idea and the
daring of Yorkshire Water to pull it off successfuly.