CAMPAIGNS: Environmental PR - Tree Council targets PR at youngsters

National Tree Week was conceived 27 years ago and is the UK's biggest annual tree-planting event. This year the charity decided it needed to get a greater proportion of involvement from younger people.

Objectives

To get ten to 13 year-old children at the transition between primary and secondary school involved in Tree Week. Last year, one third of those involved were schoolchildren, and the key objective was to increase this.

It was important, though, not to alienate the traditional, older supporters.

Strategy and Plan

The strategy was to use media relations and the internet to target young people. Research suggested that animated characters would be most effective.

A Belgian cartoonist was commissioned to create the 'Tree Freekz' and a website was built around them. The site had features such as environmental news, an environmental game and SMS messaging.

A teaching pack was produced and there were media partnerships with the website Mykindaplace.com and the teenage girls magazine Mizz - both ran competitions.

Measurement and Evaluation

The agency carried out pre and post awareness of Tree Week. This showed pre-awareness of 28 per cent growing to 42 per cent among the target group of ten to 13-year-olds. In terms of press coverage there were 538 articles, with 3,800 and 1,100 entries received for the Mykindaplace.com and Mizz competitions respectively.

Results

The activity met the key objective - increasing the proportion of events involving children from one third to more than half.

At the same time, the overall number of events - at 1,500 - was higher than last year, suggesting that much of the core support had been retained.

But although the website received almost 75,000 hits, only 180 people registered to receive text messages and e-mail updates, suggesting the site itself was not as effective as it could have been in attracting interest.

It was, however, given a five-star rating by The Daily Telegraph.

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