Campaign: East of England pulls in high-profile speakers - Public Sector

Campaign: Space for Ideas

Client: East of England Development Agency

PR team: Omobono

Timescale: Ongoing from January 2004

Budget: £100,000 per annum

With its advertising campaign drowned out by those of regional agencies with greater spending power, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) needed to find a striking alternative. Cambridge-based PR shop Omobono was appointed to take a fresh approach to promoting the region's economy. Objectives

To raise awareness of EEDA's reach - the agency is responsible for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. To promote these areas as good places to locate to and build a business.

Strategy and Plan

Because the region's economy is skewed towards research and development, Omobono devised a campaign that would illustrate the East's creativity, skilled workforce and geographical room for growth, with the tagline East of England - Space for Ideas.

Omobono commissioned a series of essays from leading opinion formers, including 'lateral thinker' Edward de Bono, professor and entrepreneur Baroness Susan Greenfield, environmentalist Jonathon Porritt and Teletubbies creator Anne Wood. These were collated at dedicated website and promoted to national and business media.

To raise awareness of the campaign among local business leaders, the PR team organised a series of events, including lectures by de Bono and management guru Robert Heller, who shared the findings of an 'ideas audit' with an audience of around 40.

Measurement and Evaluation

To date, the campaign has achieved 18 articles in the national press, including the Financial Times, The Times, The Independent and The Guardian.

Trade press interest included Management Today and The Manufacturer. Specific events and some of the more esoteric essays have also been widely reported in regional media, such as the Cambridge Evening News, while attracting interest from Radio 4's Today and BBC Online.


The Space for Ideas website has recorded more than 40,000 essay downloads to date, according to the EEDA, exceeding the agency's expectations. In addition, the British Library has expressed interest in archiving the site.

The campaign continues, with business troubleshooter Sir John Harvey-Jones set to lecture later this month and TV chef Gordon Ramsay booked to speak at a dinner event towards the end of the year.

Cambridge Evening News business editor Jenny Chapman says: 'I would prefer the campaign to use business leaders who are a bit more up to date, but having said that, booking Ramsay is a real coup.'

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