Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
As Diamond Jubilee celebrations draw to a close, Gorkana catches up with Pagefield, the agency which masterminded the PR around The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Wet weather and the unprecendented scale of the event didn't stop the coverage flowing in - 3,000 pieces and counting...
Campaign name: The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
Client: Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation
PR Team: Pagefield
Timing: February 2011 - June 2012
Budget: More than £100,000
The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, the centrepiece of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend, was one of the largest public events ever staged in London. More than 1,000 vessels from all over the UK and the world participated in the largest flotilla to take place on the river Thames in modern times. Millions of people braved the weather to line the banks of the river in central London, waving and cheering, celebrating The Queen, resplendent on the Royal Barge.
This was an event without parallel in many ways: unprecedented in scale, both on the river and along its banks, and managed by an independent organisation, separate from the Royal Households and government departments, though working in close collaboration with both.
- Widespread positive awareness of and attendance at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012, by participants in the flotilla, spectators along the Thames and millions of television viewers, globally.
- Broad, detailed and positive coverage by all target media in the run-up to and of the event itself.
- Ongoing positive commentary about the management and execution of the Pageant after the event.
- Streaming logistical information about the event to the public, via social and traditional media.
Strategy and implementation
The strategic approach was built around three key principles:
- Close working relationships with relevant stakeholders, including Buckingham Palace, the Port of London Authority (PLA), the Cabinet Office and the Met Police, early on.
- Applying the commercial disciplines for corporate public relations to this consumer-facing national event.
- Sharing as much information as possible with the media, and therefore with the public, well ahead of the event. We took the view that disseminating early and transparent public information would help create a truly memorable day for all participants, while minimising the potential for damaging or inaccurate speculation.
Our communications strategy was built around three major bursts of global media and stakeholder publicity, interspersed with a regular flow of information, including individual stories of those taking part (for example, artists and craftspeople, boat owners, musicians, charities) and images.
The publicity bursts took the form of three large-scale media and stakeholder briefings, spread over 18 months and each designed to impart a mass of new information about the pageant.
We made a decision to connect at various levels with our key media and early on and met with the senior editorial teams from the UK national newspapers and broadcasters. Good links with editors and news editors were mutually beneficial, strengthened by our day-to-day relationships with all the royal correspondents, editor and producers.
We are still collating and analysing the global coverage for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, but there have been more than 3,000 pieces of national and international coverage.
In particular, there was front page coverage on every UK national newspaper on Monday 4 June (the day after the pageant); nine full pages of coverage dedicated to the Pageant in The Times (with a dedicated full-page leader and a four-page wrap-around cover) and 15 pages in The Daily Telegraph. The weekend before the pageant, several newspapers and online news pages (including The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Sunday Express, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph and BBC Online) published detailed guides to the day, all using detailed maps and images we had supplied at our mid-May media briefing.
The team owned the @riverpageant Twitter feed and Facebook page. During the pageant, the Facebook page reached 70,000 people and @riverpageant experienced more than 40,000 tweets per hour. We reached a wider audience of middle-aged and older people with social media: 38.5% of those who liked the Facebook page were over 45 (who only make up 27.5% of global Facebook users).
More than 1,000 media and stakeholders attended the briefings we held in April 2011, January 2012 and May 2012.
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