Campaign: Breast cancer run inspires Bristol locals

SunWalk, a 10km charity power-walk, celebrated its second year in Bristol this July.

Campaign SunWalk
Client Walk the Walk
PR teams Bray Leino Public Relations
Timescale February-July 2006
Budget £10,000

It is organised by Walk the Walk, a grant-giving charity that has raised more than £20m since 1997 for breast cancer research and care. It also organises the London and Edinburgh MoonWalks, famous for female runners walking at night wearing only bras and shorts.

As well as raising money, the organisation encourages good health, with walking at the centre of its philosophy. Its motto is ‘raise money, raise awareness, get fit and have fun'.

To encourage people to sign up for SunWalk and secure regular, positive local media coverage. To develop relationships with businesses and organisations in the Bristol area and secure sponsorship and employee participation. To raise awareness of SunWalk's beneficiary charities - the Bristol Cancer Help Centre and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Strategy and Plan
Bray Leino's targets were: those who participated in 2005; those affected by breast cancer; Bristol fitness fanatics; and businesses and beneficiary charities. To reach such a diverse audience, the PR team signed up Bristol Evening Post and GWR FM as media partners.

To encourage the business community to participate, Bray Leino conducted research that found inactivity and lack of exercise were major problems for Britain's workforce. It developed a spin-off event, ‘SunWalk to Work', encouraging workers to ditch the car and bus.

For consumers, the celebrity route was pursued, and Casualty actress Georgina Bouzova was signed up as the face of the campaign. The bond with business was strengthened by a ‘design-a-bra' campaign, which saw organisations create a unique ‘team bra' for their employees.

To target the ‘fit community', SunWalk was launched in March at the David Lloyd Gym in Bristol, the city's biggest fitness club with 8,000 members. Personal trainers and instructors were briefed to spread the SunWalk message to local media, which were also invited to the launch.

Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign generated 147 items of regional broadcast coverage and one national item - on Terry Wogan's Radio 2 morning show.

The two media partners ran weekly items, while there was coverage of various events across ITV West, BBC Points West, BBC Radio Bristol, Star FM, Vibe FM and Western Daily Press. The Bray Leino campaign is estimated to have reached more than four million people.

There was an increase in walkers from 600 in 2005 to 2,000 in 2006. The event's existing partners (including Ford, New Balance and Playtex) all signed up to support the event for 2007.

Meanwhile, Airbus, which has offices based locally, expressed an interest in becoming involved as a sponsor next year. Other local businesses showed their support with bras designed by staff at organisations including the BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol City Football Club, the local zoo, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club and the Soil Association.

Bristol Evening Post reporter Kirsty Pugh recalls: ‘This was a nice, feelgood story that got the community involved. Plus, the decorated bras made this highly visual.'

SECOND OPINION, Lynsey Attwood, PR and marketing executive at Great North Run organiser Nova International

Securing coverage of running events is not easy, especially as the market becomes more saturated.

But this campaign was a success, with excellent coverage and reach. With more than a 150 per cent increase in participation, including the local business community, the campaign thoroughly met its aims. Also impressive is the continued commitment from media partners for 2007, which is always an objective for a run of this nature.

The media partners were pivotal to this campaign. They provided the important platform to transmit the client's messages to the Bristol community.

Not only did regular coverage help Walk the Walk, but it also helped to create excitement around the event.

One point of concern is that the entry figures seem a little low for the amount of coverage gained, although this might be a result of a set entry limit.

It would also be interest­ing to find out whether awareness of SunWalk's beneficiary charities increased. The amount of money raised for these charities would be a good way to measure this.

An objective that wasn't met entirely was sponsorship for 2007. But it is good to see that there has been good engagement with the local business community and interest from Airbus. This being the case,  I'm sure the sales team will be able to complete the jigsaw by securing some form of sponsorship for next year.

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