CAMPAIGN: K&R makes some noise for workers' safety

Plant and tool hire company Hewden was looking to promote itself in the construction industry as an expert on health and safety - an issue of increasing concern to the sector. They called Kinross & Render.

Campaign: Shout About Noise
Client: Hewden
PR Team: Kinross & Render
Timescale: February to December 2006
Budget: £27,000

The firm asked ret­ained agency Kinross & Render (K&R) to develop a campaign that would ­appeal to both specialist construction and mainstream media.

After analysing recent health and safety legislation, it was decided to focus on the new Control of Noise at Work Act 2006. Coming into force in April2006, this was a piece of legislation that aimed to cut noise levels at work by 70 per cent.

To position Hewden as a health and safety expert. To highlight the benefits of its products, in particular those inv­ol­ving ear protection, to the construction industry. To ensure the brand name is at the forefront of construction managers’ minds through coverage in both the trade press and mainstream media.

K&R selected the Control of Noise at Work Act 2006 in a bid to appeal to both trade and consumer media. Not only was the construction industry looking for guidance on the law, but the agency believed the issue of workplace noise would appeal to a wider ­audience too.

To position Hewden as an expert on the issue, K&R decided on a combination of media relations, direct marketing and conference work.

Throughout 2006 a ‘Noise at Work’ booklet and ‘Shout About Noise ­Reduction’ posters were given to customers. Posters were also distributed through a partnership with trade mag Contract Journal.

Speakers from Hewden spoke at key construction industry conferences and a stand, featuring a ‘noise-o-meter’, was placed at trade events Interbuild 2006 and Toolfair 2006.

K&R commissioned a survey on contractors’ attitudes to both workplace noise and the new law. The study found 72 per cent of respondents had not received hearing tests from employers and two thirds did not use ear protection.

Traditionally, the sporting pages are widely read throughout the male-dominated construction industry, so Hew­den wanted a hook for sports writers. K&R arranged for noise levels at Premiership football matches to be measured, and the games that exceeded safe noise levels were flagged up to the football hacks.

The campaign generated 29 media items, including coverage of the football stadium research in The Daily Telegraph and Daily Express, and on BBC Radio Newcastle and talkSPORT. The campaign was also covered in the trade media, including Plant Managers Journal, Contract Journal and Safety and Health Practitioner. Contract Journal’s 4 Oct­ober 2006 article about the contractors’ survey, headlined ‘Employers are ignoring new noise regulations’, was typical of trade coverage.

Of contractors and depot managers surveyed by Hewden, 100 per cent gave the campaign a positive response. There was also an increase in calls for extra information materials, including posters, from customers. Colin Sowman, plant editor at Contract Journal, said: ‘Noise is often an overlooked issue in construction, so it was good to be able to highlight this in a unique and interesting way.’

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