Midnight Communications Case Study
In February 2006, Midnight Communications was appointed by TucTuc Ltd. to launch the first ever service of the small, motorised rickshaws outside Asia.
TucTuc was seeking the first known operators licence of its kind, and the city of Brighton & Hove was the chosen venue.
The service, which was scheduled to launch in June 2006, promised to provide tourists, shoppers and visitors with a safe, economical and environmentally friendly means to get around the city.
Midnight was asked to implement a far-reaching awareness campaign around TucTuc’s launch. It needed to establish the service in Brighton & Hove and maximise the new business’s chances of success.
However, just as importantly, Midnight had to achieve a national profile for the business which had plans to apply for a second licence for the vehicles in London in 2007, and across the rest of the UK and Europe in 2008-2009. Its chances of success in the capital and beyond were almost completely dependent on how the service went down in Brighton.
Midnight treated the job as more than just a media launch campaign. Before media activity could even begin, Midnight acted as a business facilitator for TucTuc.
Central to this was an intensive lobbying campaign of local influencers in Brighton & Hove, including high-profile business people, members of the city council, and industry groups that were perceived as possible objectors to the licence application, such as taxi companies and the city’s bus service.
The media campaign itself took a clearly defined two-pronged approach. Midnight used its local knowledge to manage communications within the city, whilst at the same time leveraging its profile with the national media to raise awareness outside the town, and in London in particular.
For the latter campaign, the launch of TucTuc was positioned as a national event that was changing travel in the UK, rather than a development that was specific to Brighton.
With environmental issues increasingly making headline news in the UK media, Midnight also realised it needed to make TucTuc’s green credentials one of the most prominent messages of the campaign. TucTucs run on Compressed Natural Gas (CMG), which is a virtually zero-emission fuel.
Midnight placed this message firmly in the context of Brighton & Hove’s sustainable transport policies, and the city’s strategy to encourage its citizens to think in an environmentally friendly manner whenever possible.
In its role as TucTuc’s lobbyist in the pre-launch stage, Midnight arranged a series of one-to-one briefings between TucTuc’s Executive Director and key influencers and stakeholders in the city.
These included the Head of Tourism at Brighton & Hove’s Visitor and Convention Bureau; the Head of Communications at Brighton & Hove Council; directors of Brighton & Hove’s bus company; and local councillors responsible for granting business licences in the city. Midnight also assisted TucTuc with its driver recruitment campaign.
Simultaneously, Midnight was developing the new business’ brand identity, which proved to be a crucial factor in the level of excitement generated around the launch.
It was decided that each vehicle in the 12-strong fleet would be given its own distinctive personality via a recognisable livery and name, including Chavrolet, Valentine, and Heatwave.
In another coup, Midnight arranged for the drivers’ uniforms to consist of a waistcoat made by national renowned gentlemen’s tailor, Gresham Blake, who has also designed suits for Christian Slater, Davina McCall, Norman Cook and Rachel Stevens.
In the run up to the launch event, which took place at Brighton racecourse, Midnight took on full organisational responsibilities, including venue search and hire, and catering requirements. The latter employed a creative east meets west theme that included fish and chips served in cones made from Indian newspapers, alongside a range of Asian drinks.
Midnight also controlled the full media relations campaign for the launch, which intensively targeted local and national print and broadcast media during the day, many of whom attended the event. Central to this was an advance briefing for Brighton & Hove’s key regional paper, the Argus.
This formed a central pillar of the campaign at a local level. In addition, Midnight invited VIPs from the city’s council and business community for a separate evening event to help smooth TucTuc’s emergence as part of Brighton’s established local community.
Midnight’s key campaign messages about the TucTucs’ individual personalities and their environmentally friendly credentials appeared consistently throughout the media coverage that appeared in the wake of the company’s launch.
The campaign for TucTuc has been successful beyond the client’s wildest expectations. To date, press coverage generated by Midnight has achieved an independently evaluated advertising value of £547,354.
Nine separate articles appeared in the UK’s national newspapers, comprising The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian (twice), The Independent, The Metro and The Evening Standard.
On top of this, Midnight secured TucTuc’s appearance on CNN, BBC Radio 3, ITV Meridian, BBC TV South, BBC Southern Counties Radio, Juice 107.2 and Bright 106.4.
The new service has also achieved an incredible 47 mentions in the local press, including the front page of Brighton’s key regional newspaper, The Argus. Coverage continues to roll in on a daily basis.
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