This was a truly creative PR campaign that really caught the imagination of the media and the target audience alike. It resulted in excellent media engagement that ultimately delivered against the campaign objectives to raise awareness and deliver commercial growth. The fun concept was backed up by strong implementation which brought together the power of technology to support farming businesses. By putting farmers central to the campaign, not only did it drive business growth but was able to raise the profile of social issues affecting the agricultural sector.

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Winner entry:

Brief, objectives and budget:

Hectare Agritech is a fast-growing start-up focused on transforming the way farmers buy, sell and pay for their produce. Its SellMyLivestock platform allows users to find and trade breeding animals, such as cattle and sheep, online.

Hectare wanted to encourage farming businesses to trade livestock online, while growing subscribers to its own platform. But it also wanted to show the wider public that, contrary to popular opinion, technology and intelligent data use is crucial to modern-day farming.

Which perhaps goes against traditional ideas surrounding farming and agriculture.

Campaign objectives were:

  1. To raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits for farms to trade livestock online
  2. To grow subscribers to the SellMyLivestock platform, which allows farm businesses to find and trade livestock
  3. To gauge international appetite for online livestock trading in key markets such as the US, Europe and Australia.

Budget breakdown: Total: 22.5k (fees 12k, digital 5k, paid 500, photography 1k, video 3k, other 1k).

The idea, research and planning:

The campaign needed to speak to farming businesses, both in the UK and in targeted international markets. Farms represent an important and extremely diverse part of the UK SME landscape. They’re often family centric and are under a lot of pressure. But Hectare wanted to communicate that farming can and should be a profitable business, and to position online livestock trading as a step towards a profitable farming industry.

Budget was limited, so a media campaign incorporating organic social was deemed a good way to reach key media titles, while influencing the wider public around agritech issues and creating brand awareness for the business.

Strategy, creativity and innovation:

Farmers like a laugh, as long as it’s not at their expense. So we knew, if we pitched it right, a funny and good-natured campaign would go down well.

We developed an app called Tudder with a Valentine’s Day-focused PR and social campaign.

The simple dating app (for cattle) worked liked Tinder, with farmers swiping left or right on the profiles of cows and bulls. A match resulted in an amorous, mooing sound effect. The profile then led the curious party to the SellMyLivestock platform, where they could find more information.

We wanted to put livestock love on the media agenda. So the app launch was propelled by an extensive and ambitious media strategy that included tailored Valentine’s cards mailed to key journalists, as well as targeted, exclusive briefings with media contacts, and a multifaceted social media campaign.

Briefings were backed up with a creative set of assets for media outlets to use in coverage, including light-hearted farm and livestock photography, app stills and a funny campaign video we created on a shoestring.

We put forward farmers who we knew would interview well, and carried the interviews out on their farms. The farmers addressed serious issues around agriculture, the wellbeing of their peers, and technology usage. The campaign was fun, but there was a serious message behind it which we wanted to communicate by putting farmers at the centre of the campaign.

Delivery/implementation of tactics:

Timescale of the campaign:

  • 3 Jan-7 Feb – campaign planning and asset development: photography, media-focused Valentine’s card, press release, social posting plan, social cards and campaign video
  • 8 Feb – exclusive media briefing: engagement with Peter Evans of The Sunday Times for campaign exclusive
  • 10 Feb – exclusive published in The Sunday Times
  • 11 Feb – Valentine’s cards sent to top 30 media targets including campaign release, teaser social media programme underway
  • 12 Feb – Valentine’s card follow-up media engagement
  • 12 Feb – coordinated Reuters copy and video package production
  • 13 Feb – widescale media sell-in and rolling social media programme underway
  • 14 Feb – Reuters package goes live and further fuels global interest in story.
  • 14 Feb onwards (media interest continues throughout March and beyond) – continuing sell-in, fielding inbound calls, answering questions and organising interviews
  • 26 Feb – client campaign analysis and summary.

Measurement, evaluation and impact:

We must have hit the right note with farmers, because Tudder became one of the most successful campaigns of the past few years. A month-long programme of proactive media engagement generated huge awareness, direct engagement with the campaign app, and led to a dramatic increase in subscribers to the SellMyLivestock platform (a 58% increase compared with the previous six-months).

The campaign took off, enjoying global attention across major public and commercial news outlets, from the BBC and The Guardian to Reuters and the New York Post. Tudder received widespread coverage on international news channels, including FOX24 News, France 24, CNN, Russia Today, Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 Noticias, and China’s TomoNews.

Rare for B2B campaigns, Tudder also caught the attention of pop-culture news, particularly in the US, where it featured on James Corden’s The Late Late Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Conan. The humour of the campaign was a huge factor in its success, with the media particularly enjoying, and running away with, our a-moo-sing puns.

Away from the mainstream news ‘punathon’ that followed the launch, the story also resonated with well-respected industry titles such as Beef Magazine (US), Farmers Weekly (UK) and RFD-TV (US). This meant that news of the platform and the wider messaging around the campaign reached the core farming audience, leading to a huge increase in traffic and sign-ups to SellMyLivestock.

  • 1,037 global print media mentions
  • 30+ global broadcast segments
  • 3b print media reach
  • 5,600 social media mentions
  • 157m Twitter reach and 385m impressions
  • 18,000+ downloads across Apple and Google app stores
  • Tudder ranked among top 10 business apps during launch week
  • 30% uplift in SellMyLivestock traffic during the coverage
  • 58% increase in new user registrations compared with the previous six-month average.

The campaign also brought Hectare to those all-important overseas markets. Contacts were made with investors and potential partners in the UK, US, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, France and New Zealand.

Ultimately, we demonstrated that online livestock trading is a great way to make farms more efficient and profitable. And showed the world something it didn’t know about the future of farming.