Hit or Miss? Alton Towers promotes new rollercoaster using 'branded' sheep

Theme park Alton Towers and its agency Cake created a viral campaign for new rollercoaster The Smiler with the help of some sheep.

Sheepish stunt: Alton Towers viral campaign
Sheepish stunt: Alton Towers viral campaign

When flocks across the country began appearing with mysterious markings resembling a smiley face, there were headlines on The Sun’s website and Mail Online, as well as Twitter buzz from curious passersby. The stunt was later revealed on Twitter and in an exclusive with Metro.

How I see it

Jamie Robinson, research and insight director, We Are Social

Reading the headlines from publications, such as Metro, The Sun and the Daily Mail, you would think that this was one of the biggest stunts of the year, with thousands of people collaborating to ‘solve the mystery’.

I’m sorry to report that this isn’t true. Since 16 January there have been around 885 tweets about this stunt. Before the press picked up on it, there were 81 tweets from passersby sharing photographs of the sheep and debating what was going on. The remainder of tweets were mostly triggered by major publications covering the story, and Alton Towers’ own reveal, via Twitter, on 21 January.

A few points must be given for fooling the national media into reporting the story. Most people seem to have enjoyed the joke, but, in reality, few people were reached by this stunt, at least, not through social media.

Was the stunt a hit or a miss? Tell us why in the comment section below.

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