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Case Studies


Hewden 'Shout About Noise' PR campaign

Hewden 'Shout About Noise' PR campaign

Best practice from Kinross and Render. This campaign won the 2007 PR Week Award for Best Marketing Communications: Business

Background and Challenge

Hewden is the UK’s largest plant and tool hire company for the construction industry.  The objectives were to communicate high health and safety and customer care standards, a diverse range of equipment and to get the Hewden brand in front of both board directors in large corporates and construction managers operating on building sites. The campaign had to be in keeping with a broader corporate drive to ‘get closer to the customer’ and establish leadership credentials.


K+R’s strategy was to adopt a leadership position on a health and safety issue which would become topical through new legislation, which had a substantial impact on the health of construction workers and which could be addressed through careful selection of higher end equipment and product provided by the company.

We also wanted a subject that could achieve coverage in the three media segments most read by target audiences – construction industry press, sports pages in nationals and local newspapers and radio.

We focused on the introduction of the ‘Control of Noise at Work Act’ in April 2006.
The strategy utilized a combination of media partnership, media relations, conference and exhibition content, on-line and print literature and local sponsorships of hearing dogs.

Key messages were that if you have to shout to be heard, then the noise you make is above recommended levels, and that correct plant and tool selection and ear protectors can significantly reduce ear damage.  A further message was that Hewden’s broad range of equipment and understanding of wider risk issues made it the most effective partner for organisations for whom health and safety is paramount.

The campaign was rolled out across 2006 and incorporated the following elements:
Noise at Work Booklet  - issued free of charge to customers; direct mail to Hewden customers’ sites; available to download via the company website

Shout About Noise Reduction poster and supporting items – direct mail, free of charge to customers; issued free of charge via; media campaign to core construction trade press; Hewden-branded earplug dispensers sent free of charge to customers; 30,000 posters distributed in partnership with Contract Journal (lead trade publication) as an insert

Web Site – dedicated pages outlining the new regulations; noise readings of equipment available for hire from Hewden; links to HSE, Noise Abatement Society, IOSH and ROSPA

Speaker Platforms – speaking slots for Hewden EH&S Manager, Martin Williams:

HSE – Sound Off Conference; Construction News Plant Conference; Construction Products Association AGM; Hewden Customer Day seminar

Survey – among contractors to evaluate the degree to which the legislation had been accepted and understood; developed an understanding of common misconceptions within the industry; media collateral used to increase awareness

Interbuild 2006 & Toolfair 2006 - Stands had a Noise-ometer, providing visitors with a practical way of understanding risk of excessive noise exposure. 

Football & Noise - Hewden customer research found that football and sports pages were amongst the top interests of target audiences.  The team measured the noise of supporters at Premiership football matches.  The results, which showed the noise exceeded safe levels, were released to sports correspondents.


Hewden achieved the major share of voice on the noise issue within its core trade press – a total of 29 separate media items with a combined circulation of 994,587 and readership of 2,983,761. Coverage was also achieved in the health and safety media.

The football stadium release resulted in significant national coverage in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Express, reaching 1,675,903 people, as well as two radio items on BBC Radio Newcastle and Talk Sport, reaching 2.5 million.

Hewden successfully positioned itself ahead of its competitors as the leading expert on the ‘Control of Noise At Work’ legislation, with an article in the trade press identifying Hewden as owning the health and safety issue of noise.

No other competitor company offered its customers advice and guidance on the new noise regulations and their implications. Hewden was also the only company in the plant and tool hire market to achieve national coverage outside of financial reporting.

Relation to objectives and cost-effectiveness

Engage with current and potential customers - Through our media partnership with Contract Journal, 30,315 posters were distributed and a further 80 companies requested copies of the guides and poster.   Hewden reported high levels of direct customer contact congratulating them on the initiative.  Speaker platforms were also secured

Position Hewden as leaders - Hewden’s behaviour and dominance on this issue was in keeping with leadership positioning. It was also the only company in the plant and tool hire market to achieve national coverage outside of financial reporting

Cost effectiveness - Campaign fees totalled £27,000 and costs were £18,000. The media relations campaign alone achieved a readership of 3,000,000 covering national and trade titles and we have made a conservative estimate that a further 200,000 people saw the Hewden Noise at Work poster displayed on site or in their company premises. In addition, coverage for the campaign on Hewden’s external website attracted 366,000 visits between February and December 06.

For comparison, Mailing 200,000 individuals with the poster would have cost £13,200; direct mailing three million individuals about the campaign would have cost £960,000 and if we had bough the media space in trade press rather than achieved editorial it would have cost at least £60,000.  

Creativity/originality - By taking the subject of noise levels out of the workplace and into the football stadium, the campaign reached a wider audience.  Furthermore the Shout About Noise campaign theme summarised how to identify if there was a problem in an engaging way. 

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