Bluebird, Terence Conran’s latest venture, has been called a
’gastrodrome’ or ’collection of food-related activities’. It comprises a
restaurant, cafe, food and wine store, chef shop, flower shop, outdoor
fruit and veg market and private dining club - all under one roof.
Bluebird has been heralded as Conran’s most ambitious food retailing
project to date.
To position Bluebird as a food market and restaurant for the local
To convey the inspiration behind Bluebird and its significance for food
The launch focused on encouraging local people to use Bluebird as their
neighbourhood store and restaurant. Conran was responsible for the
unusual choice of marketing tool - a highly visual newspaper.
’I wanted a means of letting people know about Bluebird and everything
we are doing there,’ he said. ’The newspaper gave us the space to cover
all the topics, an opportunity to produce something that people would
remember and the means to target distribution very effectively.’
The newspaper was distributed two weeks before the opening to 165,000
households in west and south-west London. Additional copies were
distributed via the Evening Standard’s ES magazine, the Conran Shop,
local health clubs and handed out at nearby tube stations. To capitalise
on the interest of passers-by as the hoardings surrounding Bluebird were
removed, an actor was hired to hand out further copies.
The press launch highlighted the many dimensions of the project by
targeting the lifestyle, shopping, design, restaurant and food press as
well as London-based media. The main focus was a press lunch for 80
journalists who were grouped according to interest and taken on a
specially tailored tour. On launch date, 14 May, a photocall was held
outside Bluebird and Conran was available for interviews with local
press, TV and radio.
Press coverage to date includes features in the Daily Telegraph, the
Independent Magazine, the Guardian Weekend, the Sunday Times and Mail on
Sunday as well as reviews in Time Out and the Evening Standard.
Broadcast exposure includes items on radio stations GLR and Heart, and
TV news programmes London Tonight and Channel 5 News.
To date the newspaper has generated 2,500 responses out of an initial
distribution of 400,000.
According to Conran, the overall response to the Bluebird launch has
been so good that ’we’ll be producing something similar for the new
Conran Shop in Marylebone High Street’.
The newspaper worked well in terms of reaching and attracting Bluebird’s
target clientele and in communicating the idea behind Bluebird.
Although the coverage was generally favourable, there were negative
reviews in the Evening Standard and the Independent just after the
launch, but this is perhaps unsurprising for a project this
The criticism has not been without benefits, however. Several ’rival’
restaurateurs - such as the critic Egon Ronay, and Gordon Ramsay who
owns Aubergine restaurant - have publicly supported Bluebird and its
restaurant booking line has apparently not stopped ringing since it
Client: Bluebird - the King’s Road gastrodrome
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Launch of Bluebird
Timescale: Six months prior to May launch and ongoing