Consumer - Look-a-like guests lead mall's 'royalwedding'

Campaign: eBay's Royal Wedding Client: Windsor Royal Shopping, Nelson Bakewell PR team: Grappa Timescale: March-April 2005 Budget: Under £5,000

International property services provider Nelson Bakewell manages a number of shopping centres, including Windsor Royal Shopping in Berkshire, which is located in a Grade 1 listed building in the shadow of the castle.

With the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles set for 9 April in Windsor, Grappa was charged with maximising PR opportunities for the shopping centre.

Objectives

To piggyback one of the year's biggest media events and create a splash for Windsor Royal Shopping and Nelson Bakewell. To involve the shopping centre's retailers, increase footfall and generate buzz among Windsor's visitors and shoppers.

Strategy and Plan

To create maximum impact and keep costs down, Grappa devised two stunts. First, a Prince William look-a-like walked through the shopping centre in the week before the wedding. This was followed by an auction on eBay of one of the centre's retail spaces, which had a view of the wedding venue. The opening bid was set at £1, with potential bidders informed that they would need to meet British security protocols.

As anticipated the protocol dissuaded bidders, allowing the PR team to issue a press release that claimed the royal wedding lacked public interest.

The auction's eventual 'winner', Canadian online casino GoldenPalace.com, worked with Grappa to stage a celebrity look-a-like party on the big day, with 'Ozzy Osbourne', 'Posh and Becks' and 'Elton John' waving to photographers from one of the shopping centre's balconies.

Measurement and Evaluation

More than 50 major media outlets around the world covered the story, including local Berkshire papers and newswires Reuters and AFP. Press interest ranged from The Scotsman to the Hindu Times.

Spokespeople from Windsor Royal Shopping also conducted interviews with TV and radio stations, including BBC Radio 4, CBS News in the US and RTL in Germany.

Results

In the week running up to the wedding, footfall at the centre increased by 18 per cent compared with the same week in 2004. The auction for the retail space overlooking the wedding venue attracted a winning bid of £800 from GoldenPalace.com, which was subsequently donated to a local charity.

One AFP correspondent comments: 'The information in the press release was newsworthy enough for us to put it on the newswires for all of our international clients.'

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