Campaign: Launch of Ben Pimlott Building
Client: Goldsmiths College
PR team: In-house
Timescale: January 2004-January 2005
Goldsmiths College, part of the University of London, has been at the forefront of the art world throughout its 100-year history. As a result of rapid growth over the past two decades, it decided to erect a building to provide purpose-built studio space for visual arts students and to house the college's new Centre for Cognition, Computation and Culture. Designs from architects Alsop & Partners won a competition for the contract in 2003. After the death of college warden Professor Ben Pimlott one year later, Goldsmiths named the building in his honour. The college's publicity department handled the PR campaign for the building's unveiling.
To raise the profile of the college and its new building.
Strategy and Plan
The new building had been in the pipeline for some time when the campaign began, so the publicity department used important milestones in the building process as news hooks. These included the 'Topping Out Party', presided over by the mayor of Lewisham, the 'Scribble sculpture' competition and unveiling, and the eventual completion and opening of the Pimlott building on 10 January.
The target audiences included local residents, community organisations and architecture students and professionals. The Goldsmiths team divided journalists attending the events outlined above into groups. This allowed the college to target reporters from the national, local and business sectors with information relevant to them and their readers.
The team translated measurements of the building into comparisons with London landmarks for local and national publications and promoted the unique technical expertise required to install the Scribble sculpture to interest those in the building and architecture sectors. Alsop & Partners also ran its own PR campaign through consultancy Stratton & Reekie.
The agency offered exclusives and a selection of photographs, as well as interviews with the main architects, to specific journalists interested in architecture at national newspapers.
Measurement and Evaluation
The unveiling of the building was covered in The Independent, The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph. Locally, there was coverage in the Evening Standard, South London Press and Living South.
Industry publications, such as Building Design and Design Week, also featured the Pimlott building.
The campaign reached a total of five million people, prompting many to take an interest in Goldsmiths and the new building - shown by the 898,000 hits on the dedicated Pimlott website since April 2004. Vox-pops of students and residents have also shown general approval.
Martin Spring covered the launch event for Building Magazine. 'Goldsmiths and Stratton & Reekie were very helpful - they played a straight game and didn't mess me around,' he says. 'And the way they organised the event was very good - we were very well briefed.'