Client: The National Magazine Company
PR Team: PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Country Living Christmas Fair
Timescale: July-November 1997
The second Country Living Christmas Fair was held at London’s Business
Design Centre in Islington from 12 to 16 November. The Fair provides a
one-stop shop for Christmas shopping offering creative, gift ideas across
a wide range of products, often not available in the high street.
Exhibitors are selected carefully by Country Living magazine and this
year’s Fair was expanded from four to five days. A sister event, Country
Living’s Spring Fair, has been running for six years and concentrates on
locally made countryside products.
To promote the ticket sales of the pre-Christmas event, raise awareness of
the magazine, bring its pages to life and complement, yet remain distinct
from, the Spring Fair.
The campaign was targeted at the national and London-based media - in
contrast to the Spring Fair’s emphasis on regional media. With the slogan,
’Country Living has Christmas all wrapped up’, teaser boxes of Christmas
decorations and hand-made cards were sent to shopping editors on the
nationals. This was followed by gift boxes with exhibitors’ products
selected to appeal to each publication.
Attendance was promoted with discount vouchers in the Sunday Times and a
competition in the Mail on Sunday. Country Living also linked up with
Farthing Holidays to offer a weekend package to the Fair.
With the Christmas Fair NatMags wanted to reach a younger audience than
the Spring Fair and worked with one of the exhibitors, Rocombe Farm Fresh
Ice Cream, to create 11 bizarre, new organic flavours which were then
targeted at 11 morning radio DJs and presenters. These included trout and
chips flavour for Chris Tarrant, a keen angler; ginger and spice for Chris
Evans, and Maltesers for Zoe Ball. These were delivered while the shows
were on air at the beginning of the week of the Fair, with press releases
sent out to other media.
Pre-show publicity achieved coverage in the Express, the Mail on Sunday’s
You magazine, the Guardian and listings magazines. The ice cream delivery
elicited numerous radio mentions, with Chris Tarrant often referring to
his trout and chips, and it was covered by Sky News, IRM, ITN and regional
press. Around 30,000 attended the Fair and during it there were TV and
radio interviews and a live broadcast of Michael van Straten’s LBC radio
show, Body Talk.
NatMags is faced with the unenviable task of maintaining interest in both
the Spring and Christmas Fairs without media fatigue setting in.
The ice cream angle tapped firmly into the youth market, opening up media
outlets that would normally have had little interest in the Fair.
With full price tickets at pounds 10, the Fair’s 30,000 visitors and 330
exhibitors have certainly been a success in terms of revenue. The two
events now provide a firm brand extension for the magazine and, as editor
Susy Smith points out, ’an opportunity both to meet existing readers and
introduce ourselves to visitors’.
The two Fairs provide scope for a steady flow of promotional ideas
throughout the year, although the constant need to avoid media burn out
means the momentum might be difficult to maintain.