Community relations - Angelina Ballerina hooks up with Bussell

Campaign: Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy Client: HIT Entertainment PR team: The Promotions Factory Timescale: December 2005-February 2006 Budget: £25,000

Children's TV producer HIT Entertainment holds the product licence for many well-loved characters, including Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Nickelodeon cartoon mouse Angelina Ballerina.

At the end of last year the company teamed up with children's dance school organiser Littlemagictrain to launch the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy - where health and dance clubs, as well as schools and nurseries, could run themed ballet classes.

Objectives

To create awareness of the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy. To encourage children to take up ballet and promote the Angelina Ballerina DVD.

Strategy and Plan

The Promotions Factory only had three weeks to organise the campaign, which meant it would miss the editorial deadlines for most monthly magazines. To solve this problem it focused on national and regional press.

The agency scored a coup in securing the services of prima ballerina Darcey Bussell as the campaign's spokesperson - it was known that her two daughters were fans of Angelina Ballerina.

A media day was held at the Royal Opera House, where a photoshoot in one of the ballet studios featured Bussell, an Angelina Ballerina costume character and three-year-olds wearing branded tutus. Exclusive pictures were embargoed until the Monday after the for the launch weekend (23 January).

Target media such as The Sunday Telegraph and The Times Magazine attended Angelina Ballerina dance classes in Fulham and Oxford, where they were briefed on the concept and took pictures of the young ballerinas in action.

Author and creator of the character, Katharine Holabird, supported the campaign with a series of interviews with national and regional media and a another photoshoot at an Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy.

Review copies of the new DVD were sent out to media. The Promotions Factory included information about the academy's registration phone number and details of its website in the press packs.

Measurement and Evaluation

National print coverage included double-page spreads and features in the Sunday Express, Daily Mail, The Times Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph's Seven, Sunday Mirror Celebs, and the Daily Star's Take 5.

Regional newspaper interest included The Daily Record, Eastern Daily Press, the Birmingham Mail, Bournemouth's Daily Echo and the York Evening Press. Most articles mentioned the registration phone number, website and DVD.

Results

At the height of the campaign, hits to the website numbered 70,000 a week, while calls to the registration office steadily increased. Due to the demand for places, ballet teachers are being trained for nine new academies.

For four weeks the DVD stayed in the top ten of the kids' section of the Official UK Retail DVD Chart.

David Stephenson, TV editor at the Sunday Express, says: 'It was a winning combination: a celebrity, popular TV character, great location and photogenic children. The pictures were great and I got half an hour with Darcey. Stories like this pretty much walk into the paper.'

SECOND OPINION

Ann Nugent, press manager at Scottish Ballet, has worked on several ballet-related campaigns.

Considering the timescale, The Promotions Factory delivered a well-thought-out, fun and engaging promotional campaign with impressive results.

Historically, ballet has been difficult to promote to the arts pages, but more recently dance has found itself well placed within popular culture (i.e. BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Nike's Dancer campaign, etc.) Combine this growing popularity with endearing photographs of children, and this story naturally adopts a human-interest angle.

The Promotions Factory cleverly added access to Darcey Bussell, while Katharine Holabird was an engaging spokesperson to add further weight to the campaign.

Inviting journalists to attend class is something that Scottish Ballet also regularly does - after all, there is nothing more effective than showcasing up close the passion and energy of dance.

With the Government's focus on health - and in particular on tackling childhood obesity - I do wonder if there might have been an opportunity to explore the physical advantages for participants in the classes. These include improved posture, co-ordination, stamina and cardiovascular health. Such slants could have resulted in more coverage in health sections and 'body and soul' supplements.

Creativity: 4 Delivery: 4 8 out of 10

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