If you wanted to learn about good communications, you probably wouldn’t think of turning to a sheep for advice. But this weekend, what looks set to be one of the summer’s most visible and successful PR campaigns launched in London led by not one, but fifty sheep – and we should all be inspired by it.
Shaun in the City is a public art trail featuring fifty giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures located around central London. At its heart lies a really simple campaign to raise awareness of, and fundraise for, Aardman Animation’s house charities, but it’s so well executed it can’t fail to make you smile . . . and feel just a little bit envious that it wasn’t your idea in the first place.
What makes it so good? Well, it ain’t rocket science. It just brings together a number of basic PR mechanics and packages them really nicely, resulting in a well-rounded campaign that ticks all the boxes:
1. Strong creative – it has a visual identity that works across all elements of the campaign and ties them together.
2. Multi-channel penetration – a great photo-opp launched the trail and generated coverage across print, broadcast and online media (what picture editor could turn down a lorry load of Shauns crossing Tower Bridge on a flat bed lorry?); social media activity will sustain visibility during its two month life span; and a lovely website brings everything together.
3. Interactive and engaging – the use of social media is maximised with Shaun-spotters encouraged to get involved by sharing photos and fun via Instagram, Twitter and the official app.
4. Educational spin offs – creative workshop and lesson plans to take the campaign into the classroom can be downloaded from the website and a design challenge for schools is running in parallel to the main event.
5. Celebrity involvement – with various artists and personalities from David Gandy to Cath Kidston involved in the design of the Shauns, the photo and endorsement opportunities are almost endless.
6. And finally, the whole purpose of the campaign is to raise money for two children’s charities – a serious message underpinning some serious fun. Participants are encouraged to donate as they ‘spot’ and, when the trail ends, the sculptures will be auctioned to raise further funds.
So even if you don’t have the luxury of a high profile and well loved sheep to spearhead your campaign, take inspiration from Shaun and you should have a success on your hands.
Verity Barr is an associate director at Camargue