Campaign: Junior Jedis
Client: American Adventure Theme Park
PR team: JFW PR
Timescale: July-September 2004
Derbyshire theme park American Adventure was facing strong competition from several other local events on the day it had scheduled as Star Wars Day on 4 September. JFW PR was tasked with generating interest. Objectives
To raise awareness of the event and the park. To highlight the work American Adventure does to support the local community.
Strategy and Plan
A competition in the local press to find 25 children who had shown bravery and courage in the face of illness or problems at home or school was proposed.
Those children would then be recognised in a ceremony at the park in which Princess Leia would bestow 'Junior Jedi' knighthoods on them, and they would meet the other 40 members of the films' official UK garrison.
The event would also raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children aged three to 18 with terminal illnesses.
All nominations were given family passes to visit the park. The team then selected 25 children and invited them to visit the park with their families on Star Wars Day for the knighting ceremony.
To ensure the kids didn't get bored, organisers ensured that the ceremony was kept to one hour.
Measurement and Evaluation
According to Romeike, the event gained 65 pieces of coverage in local newspapers such as the Derby Evening Telegraph, the Leicester Mercury and the Sheffield Star.
The campaign and ceremony received air time during Yorkshire's Calendar News evening slots, as well as further coverage on BBC Radio Derby, Trent FM and Ram FM.
Most of the coverage included a quote from the park director, 75 per cent mentioned that the Star Wars Day was in support of charity and most explained that American Adventure was honouring disadvantaged children who had done good deeds.
JFW received 45 nominations for the event and, despite four other major regional events taking place on the same day, the park exceeded its attendance target for Star Wars Day.
Grantham Journal editor Nick Woodhead says he was impressed by the agency's work. 'Like all local papers, we're busy, so I appreciated getting copy and an eye-catching logo that I could lift directly from the press release,' he explains.
'After the event, I also received a good write-up and some photos. Our readers go to the park and wanted the human-interest angle,' he adds.