Kingston rolls out red carpet for iPlus drive

There are ten ‘iPlus’ touch-screen information kiosks in Kingston, providing residents and visitors with local information, free email and BBC news updates. They also contain in-built web cameras.

Campaign Webcam Film Festival 
Client The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
PR team In-house
Timescale 19 July-19 August 2005
Budget £4,000

Kingston Council wanted to increase the profile and usage of these kiosks, particularly the one located on the town's main pedestrianised shopping area, Clarence Street.

Objectives
To raise awareness of the iPlus kiosks with a fun and interactive promotional campaign that would also draw people to Clarence Street. 

Strategy and Plan
The in-house PR team created a 'webcam film festival', where members of the public could make use of the kiosks' webcams to record a 30-second film. The creator of the best film would win a Sony digital camcorder.

The highlight of the campaign was a Hollywood-themed premiere event held on Clarence Street. The council worked with event organiser Evodia to stage the show, which saw the red carpet rolled out for Marilyn Monroe lookalike Suzie Kennedy. The Surrey Comet was signed up as an official media supporter to guarantee local press coverage over the month-long campaign.

Measurement and Evaluation
Pictures of Kennedy appeared on the front pages of three local newspapers – the Surrey Comet, Kingston Guardian and Kingston Times. The Surrey Comet covered the festival story four times.

Results
More than 100 short films were entered to the Webcam Film Festival, which the council describes as 'a very pleasing result'. Entries ranged from the 'quite quirky' to 'silent charades' and dance pieces. The winner was a film of a man who councillors on the judging panel described as dancing 'like he had elastic limbs'.

The company responsible for running the kiosks on behalf of the council, Cityspace, reports that the use of the iPlus kiosk on Clarence Street increased by almost ten per cent in August, with 1,672 people accessing it.

There was also cause for celebration during the campaign period when the 200,000th user logged on.

Surrey Comet chief reporter Kate Saines says: 'The festival provided some excellent photo opportunities for the newspaper – the Hollywood-themed event with the Marilyn Monroe lookalike in particular.

'And who knows, we might even have featured a future Hollywood
director in our newspaper.'

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