On March 17, London’s Natural History Museum was the setting for
the Oscars of the fashion world - The British Fashion Awards. A
glamorous occasion and the highlight of the industry’s year, the best of
British designers are rewarded for their input or impact on the world of
Now in their 14th year, the awards had lapsed into obscurity, lacking
the press coverage needed to keep the event in the public eye. Ketchum
Life had the task of bringing the awards back to life and to the
attention of the press.
To raise awareness of British fashion and its designers. To achieve
positive media coverage and make the awards a high-profile event which
would obtain a definitive place on the fashion calendar.
Strategy and Plan
Award ceremonies seem to take place one after another. To keep the
public and press interested, each event needs to be more glamorous and
celebrity-packed than the last.
To ensure coverage of the event, Julie Robson from the Daily Telegraph
was invited as a VIP guest to host a table which would normally cost
pounds 2,750 for a party of ten. The Telegraph was chosen because of its
high circulation and quality fashion pages. Sky News was invited to make
a special programme about the event.
Entertainment and fashion exist side by side. Celebrities are always
keen to present the right image and are often photographed just because
they are wearing an unusual, revealing or up-to-the-minute frock, so it
was no surprise that A-list celebrities were recruited in their droves
to give the event a glitzy appeal for the press and paparazzi.
A key to any successful event is having the right face at the right
Most of the celebrities chosen by Ketchum to present awards were
carefully picked because of their association with the winner. Stephen
Marks, who heads French Connection, for example, was named retailer of
His award was presented by Nick Moran, who starred in hit film Lock,
Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for which Marks was executive producer.
David Soul and Antonio Fargas - alias Hutch and Huggy Bear from the
1970s TV series Starsky & Hutch - were chosen to present the Classic
Supermodels Caprice and Helena Christensen and Big Breakfast presenter
Kelly Brook provided the type of glamour which Ketchum hoped would make
the paparazzi would sit up and take notice.
Measurement and Evaluation
Sky News recorded a special hour-long programme and aired the show twice
in one week. The show went out to nearly 40 countries and the viewing
figures were up in the millions.
Plenty of press coverage was achieved, with articles appearing one or
two days after the event in the Telegraph, the Mirror, the Evening
Standard, the Express and several regional newspapers. In-house
evaluation of the coverage has been undertaken, showing that, on the
whole, coverage was very positive. However, without any brand awareness
research carried out before the campaign was undertaken, it is not
possible to say how effectively it has met its profile raising objective
in a manageable way.
Ketchum Life is in the process of putting together a sponsorship package
to offer potential sponsors for next year’s event.
By getting the right mix of celebrities involved in the awards, Ketchum
Life managed to update their image. Inviting celebrities to an event is
always touch-and-go as someone inevitably backs out at the last minute,
but the celebrities on Ketchum’s line-up proved their professionalism by
keeping the agency up-to-date on their availability for the night.
Client: British Fashion Council
PR Team: Ketchum Life
Campaign: British Fashion Awards
Timescale: December 1998 - March 1999