Campaign: Voluntary sector - St Albans Cathedral shows off its buns

Campaign: Renaming the Hot Cross Bun
Client: St Albans Cathedral
PR team: Twelve Thirty Eight
Timescale: March 2009
Budget: Pro bono

Every year Twelve Thirty Eight provides ten days of free senior consultancy support to a worthy cause. This year it chose St Albans Cathedral, a cultural landmark.


- To raise the profile of the cathedral among potential tourists

- To identify a commercial opportunity that could raise money for the cathedral

- To support the cathedral's key messages.


The PR team discovered the cathedral was the source of the modern hot cross bun. The original Alban Bun was baked and offered to the poor by Father Thomas Rockliffe, a monk, in 1361. The team advised the cathedral to run a campaign to reclaim and rename the hot cross bun and a partnership with Sainsbury's was negotiated to bake the buns for the cathedral, which would keep the proceeds.


The announcement that the hot cross bun was to be renamed the Alban Bun was covered by the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, BBC radio stations, ITV, London Tonight, in regional press and online.


The buns baked at the cathedral sold out within hours. The cathedral also saw a flood of visitors and will meet Sainsbury's to negotiate an agreement on national sales of the bun in 2010.

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