Client Jamaica Tourist Board
PR team McCluskey International
Campaign The Military Band of the Jamaica Defence Force
Timescale July-August 2007
The JMB has a rich history and a close association with the British royal family. Retained agency McCluskey International was tasked with using JMB’s visit to generate positive PR for Jamaica to both mainstream audiences and the diaspora (Jamaicans living in the UK).
To generate a light-hearted ‘good news’ story about the JMB’s UK performances ahead of the announcement of a date for the Jamaican national elections – an event that has previously attracted negative publicity.
Strategy and plan
The JMB’s visit coincided with two key dates in the Jamaican calendar: Jamaican Independence Day (1 August) and Emancipation Day (6 August).
The JMB plays a mixture of traditional music and reggae – a genre made famous outside Jamaica by Bob Marley. Part of the PR campaign was to ‘reclaim Bob Marley for Jamaica’ after other Caribbean countries had ‘muscled in’ on his story and music.
McCluskey approached London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s office and booked JMB to play at the Slavery Memorial Day event organised by the GLA on 24 August.
The band was also signed up to play at St James’ Park bandstand and to be the VIP band at Costume Splash, an event to mark the beginning of the Notting Hill Carnival.
Measurement and evaluation
The initial press release, distributed before the JMB’s performance at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, resulted in widespread coverage, including a feature in The Daily Telegraph under the headline ‘Jamaican troops serenade Queen with reggae’.
By late August, the campaign had generated more than 40 online and print media features, including The Guardian, Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Express, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.
The performances attracted large crowds. Extensive coverage was also secured on the diaspora media including website Black Britain, Red Jamaican Radio and the Jamaica Observer – a crucial element of the PR campaign.