In a competitive market, Sipping on Top of the World demonstrated creativity and ingenuity, using a unique angle to promote their product and link to social purpose. Against tough competition, the judges were particularly impressed by McCann Manchester’s thoughtful differentiation of their brand as distinctively Welsh, and the focused execution of the PR campaign which showed their brand in action. The campaign met challenging business objectives, securing commercial success from low budget investment – it had real spirit.

Mark of Excellence:

  • Museum of London
    Fatberg!

The judges awarded a Mark of Excellence for this great PR campaign from the Museum of London. Creatively appealing to our fascination with the grotesque to bring people into the museum and open up a conversation about the environmental challenges facing modern London, the team generated both serious and humorous messages and content to deliver strong media coverage on a tight budget.

Finalists:

  • 3 Monkeys Zeno and McVitie’s UK
    The Transatlantic Biscuit
  • 72Point and www.channelmum.com
    Raising Awareness of Maternal Mental Health
  • British Heart Foundation
    Makeover Challenge
  • Conscious Communications
    Portion Sizes – British Nutrition Foundation
  • Livewire PR
    Autism with Attitude: Challenging perceptions and celebrating achievement
  • Skipton Building Society
    Accessibility On The High Street

Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

Gin. As a nation, we can’t get enough. Traditional gins, fruit gins, spiced gins, non-alcoholic gins, even gin infused with unicorn tears (seriously, it exists). And they’re all battling for their place at the bar and in the news.

As a new brand (nine months old at the time of the campaign) in a saturated market, Aber Falls needed champagne awareness on a lemonade budget. With the established brands dominating marketing spend, and smaller craft distillers flooding the market, we needed to differentiate Aber Falls.

So, we designed a campaign that delivered on the following:

Business Objectives:

  • Listings – inspire regional grocery buyers to list Aber Falls
  • Strategic regional partnerships – build meaningful and commercial relationships with regional businesses and tourism operators.

Marketing Objectives:

  • Brand awareness – reach and awareness among new audiences by targeting national and regional news media, rather than being confined to the Food & Drink pages
  • Social engagement – produce inspiring content to drive engagement online via the brand’s owned and paid channels
  • Tell the brand story of ‘unleashing the spirit of North Wales’.

The idea, research and planning:

Using TGI Data we determined that our AB audience, predominantly aged between 25-44, are more likely to pay attention to where ingredients come from, and pay more for products that give back to communities. This, and that they over indexed on exploring places off the beaten track and enjoying an outdoors lifestyle gave us a great platform for an idea.

From this, we knew Aber Falls’ provenance story of using local botanicals and water sourced directly from the adjacent Aber Falls waterfall was where we needed to focus our creative thinking.

So, after a few gins one evening, we thought we’d use the brand’s own backyard as the platform for ‘summit’ truly special and make history by producing the first gin ever to be distilled at the top of Mount Snowdon. To make our story even more compelling, we picked botanicals from the mountain as we climbed to the top.

We also wanted to give something back to the North Walian community which had supported the growth of Aber Falls, so we agreed to donate the one-off bottle, appropriately titled Summit Gin, to Wales Air Ambulance for a charity auction.

In order for the campaign to become a reality, we needed to:

  • Secure buy-in from the Snowdon Mountain Railway marketing team to provide the Summit Café space and logistical train support in return for exposure in media materials and social content
  • Secure approval from the local government to allow us to pick botanicals from the side of the mountain, which is classed as a conservation area.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

With a small budget for the activity, our PR strategy was split into three moments to extract as much editorial value as we could from the campaign:

  • Pre-activation – tease the campaign a week before through regional press (media release) and the brand’s owned channels.
  • Activation – climb the mountain and distil the gin at the summit, capture stills and video content, and secure live broadcast opportunities with both Welsh and English speaking channels, and promote via owned and stakeholder channels
  • Post-activation – sell in story, images and video content to all relevant influencers, regional, national, and trade media.

Delivery:

A week before launch, we teased the campaign on social with animated gifs across the brand’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

In the early hours of the launch day, still in the dark, with the wind swirling around, the distillery team began their three-hour trek to the top, with a 1 litre copper still in their bag, picking botanicals along the way to create the truly unique spirit. They were joined by a photographer, videographer, and McCann representative to capture the necessary content on the way to the top.

While this was happening, live radio interviews were being managed by a second McCann colleague and undertaken by Aber Falls execs, as they travelled on the Mountain Railway to the top with the additional activation materials. Mixologists from Cardiff’s Lab 22, including influencer and ‘Bartender of the Year’ Alex Mills, were secured in return for product, to bring the brand to life with a gin cocktail bar at the top and allow visitors to enjoy sipping on top of the world.

No more than 24 hours later, videos telling the story of ‘Sipping on Top of the World’ were promoted on Facebook and Instagram and split-tested, with the more engaged edit being up-weighted with spend to ensure efficient use of the budget.

The day after the activation, the PR team were busily selling in pictures and media releases to all the relevant national, regional and trade media.

Measurement and evaluation:

Business Outcomes:

The campaign was just the tonic for progressing discussions with four national grocers, helping to secure initial Welsh listings with Tesco, Lidl and Ocado, worth more than £100k. In terms of Partnerships, the campaign lead to ongoing commercial relations with Snowdon Mountain Railway and Lab 22, with Aber Falls now sold at the Railway’s gift shop and Lab 22 producing seasonal cocktails for ongoing media relations work.

Marketing Outcomes:

With stories in The Times and Daily Star, multiple broadcast hits across BBC Radio and Heart, plus trade and front page regional press coverage in the likes of the Daily Post and Wales Online, we ensured we got Aber Fall’s story and unique proposition heard in a crowded market. Our results showed: – 25 stories (2 national, 3 broadcast, 10 regionals, and 10 trade) – 6 influencer social media posts – 2.7 million in editorial reach – An engagement rate of 11.4%, much higher than the industry average of around 2.7%. – More than 79% of people reached saw the video – Sentiment was 100% positive – We increased website traffic by more than 770% during the campaign And we’ll drink to that.

Budget and campaign impact:

As previously mentioned, we needed champagne awareness on a lemonade budget. The total campaign costs came to £6,100, split as follows:

  • Two months of PR retainer at £1.5k per month
  • One month of Social retainer at £1k per month
  • Social media advertising spend – £1,000
  • Photographer & Junior Content Producer – £1,100 for all filming and editing turned around in 24 hours.