RETAIL CAMPAIGN: Bluewater shoppers get slim Santa for Christmas

When Bluewater opened in 1999, its sheer size changed the face of UK retail. Since then, other shopping centres have followed suit and Bluewater has featured less frequently on the news pages of national newspapers.

Jingle hell: Bluewater makes Santa sweat
Jingle hell: Bluewater makes Santa sweat

Campaign: Bluewater's Santa Boot Camp
Client: Bluewater
PR Team: Splendid
Timescale: November-December 2007
Budget: £20,000

To create a Christmas campaign that would secure Bluewater national coverage beyond the shopping pages. To secure 30 pieces of coverage, with a minimum of two national newspaper hits and a minimum PR value of £250,000. To get at least five million shoppers through the door over the Christmas period.

Splendid felt that with growing concern about obesity, it would be unacceptable to use a traditional, fat Santa to promote Bluewater.

The agency came up with 'Bluewater's Santa Boot Camp' a simulated training regime for the centre's Santas.

The team recruited Cornel Chin, the celebrity fitness trainer responsible for getting Leonardo DiCaprio in shape for his role in The Beach. Cornel developed an exercise programme that involved the Santas jogging through neighbouring parkland and doing 'Xmascises' by the grotto.

A news hook was added to the story by leveraging results from a Foresight Report that predicted half of adults and a quarter of children would be obese by 2050.

Bluewater's Santa Bootcamp won global coverage. In the UK, it was reported by The Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Express and Metro. BBC regional magazine programme South East Today devoted a two-and-a-half-minute slot to the campaign.

A total of 76 pieces of coverage were secured and positive PR value was estimated at £1.7m.

Footfall in the Christmas shopping period was 5.4 million, an 11 per cent increase year on year.

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