Best practice from Midnight Communications
The Magic of Christmas launched in 2007. A brand new concept, the event is created around a theatrical journey, involving a live Christmas tree fairy called Petal.
Visitors emerge from this 25 minute festive experience to a Magical Village, crammed with activities and entertainment such as acrobats, a snow gym, the disco igloo and wooden chalets where visitors can buy high quality gifts, food and drink.
Midnight’s task was to develop a PR strategy that would attract families within a 90 minute drive time of the NEC in Birmingham.
The overall aim was to maximise media exposure and ultimately drive ticket sales. The Magic of Christmas had to compete with shops, pantomimes, ice-rinks and festive markets to encourage families to buy a ticket.
The event spanned 10 days, including the last two shopping weekends and the first part of the school holidays. It was therefore essential that Midnight developed a strategy to encourage families to visit at non-peak times so that onsite logistics could be effectively managed.
Secure high profile media coverage across regional, national and lifestyle media
Position the show as the perfect festive family day out
Target a broad audience within a 90 minute drive time of NEC Birmingham
Establish the show as a critical success within the media
It was important for the team to geographically target potential visitors and understand the motivational factors that would attract ABC1 families. Detailed media and demographic research formed the basis of the media strategy ensuring all opportunities within these parameters were optimised.
Midnight worked in close partnership with the show organisers, stakeholders and exhibitors to deliver a well planned and coordinated PR campaign. All activities supported the marketing programme and focused on leveraging opportunities to maximise visibility within the media.
All key media targets received timely and relevant information in advance of deadlines which included inbuilt PR hooks and details on how to purchase tickets.
The competitions programme was a key tactic that underpinned the main media relations campaign. As soon as a competition was confirmed, Midnight focused on securing copy and images in the publication, so that the piece read as a feature rather than a standard competition piece.
To ensure all key messages were included along with a call to action, the team provided publications with pre-approved, generic copy and images wherever possible.
All exhibitors were contacted and information received, was logged and tracked using robust systems developed in-house. This meant that information was easily accessible, ensuring the team had information to hand – ready for relevant editorial opportunities.
Midnight created themed press mailers to excite journalists, build momentum and encourage further coverage in the crucial weeks leading up to the event. Small white boxes, filled with fake snow, a Magic of Christmas reindeer bell, themed chocolate bar were packaged with a press release, flyer and ticket tied in a scroll.
Midnight provided onsite PR support once the event opened, ensuring journalists were registered, film crews accompanied and interviews managed. As soon as photographs were captured, Midnight ensured key national and regional picture desks were wired images.
- Midnight generated 161 positive media mentions, with an independently evaluated audited equivalent advertising value of £978,452.
- Key media coverage reaching the specified audience included: BBC Breakfast News, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, News of the World, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Solihull Times and ITV Central.
- Midnight secured 58 feature-led competitions including This Morning Online, Full House, Parentsandkids, Netmums, Solihull Observer and The Coventry Telegraph.
- Over 40 journalists attended the onsite press office including, BBC Breakfast, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, Birmingham Post, Heart FM, BBC West Midlands, Parent Talk and Worcester News.
- Coverage was secured on BBC Breakfast News and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire as a direct result of the media mailer.
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