Cumbrian sheep sing for Christmas tourists

Cumbria Tourist Board’s main website, www.golakes.co.uk, acts as a shop window for more than 2,000 local organisations, where the public can book accommodation, and find out about attractions and places to eat.

Too baaaad to get to number one: a ‘pop video’ accompanied the Jingle Bells cover
Too baaaad to get to number one: a ‘pop video’ accompanied the Jingle Bells cover
Campaign Baarmy Sheep Xmas single
Client Cumbria Tourist Board
PR team In-house
Timescale November 2005-January 2006
Budget Under £5,000

To challenge views of Cumbria as Wordsworth’s sedate ‘host of golden daffodils’, the tourist board took inspiration from Crazy Frog, the character behind the infamous ring tone.

Objectives
To increase awareness of the Golakes website. To promote Cumbria as a fun winter destination.

Strategy and Plan
With some sections of the media predicting that Crazy Frog would grab the Christmas number-one spot, the tourist board decided it would piggyback the single’s launch. The PR team created its own band – a flock of ‘Baarmy Sheep’ – and commissioned local record producer Charley Darbyshire to dub bleating sheep to the tune of Jingle Bells.
The result was offered as a free download ringtone on the Golakes site, and was complemented by a 40-second video of the sheep, complete with baubles, tinsel and snow. Press material for the Baarmy Sheep single went out on 30 November, a day before the Crazy Frog single was released.

Measurement and Evaluation
The Baarmy Sheep scored more than 50 items of coverage. This included GMTV, Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Des and Mel, Sky News, Channel Four News and The Wright Stuff.

The story was also picked up by The Guardian, The Sun Online, Yahoo!, the Daily Record and the Sydney Morning Herald. Radio coverage included IRN, Sky Radio, and various BBC stations.

Results
According to the tourist board, the Baarmy Sheep helped to attract more than 182,000 hits to the Golakes site. In December, more than 800 bookings for various attractions in Cumbria were made online. Unfortunately, the sheep single did not get to number one. 

Granada Reports planning producer Steven Roberts says: ‘It was a good story, because as soon as the footage was played in the office, everyone laughed. We had to show it on TV and share it with our viewers’.

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