Award-winning PR agency help the City of Perth with Festival

by Kenny Murray

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Award-winning PR agency help the City of Perth see huge economic benefitsPerthWinterFest

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say.

However for many it can be extremely stressful, and this was certainly the case for the organisers of The City of Perth Winter Festival.

They were tasked with ensuring one of the region’s most anticipated events of the year generated additional economic benefits through increased numbers of visitors – particularly those from outside the region who would also stay overnight – while also contributing to the city’s vibrancy and cultural life.

But The City of Perth Winter Festival – organised by Perth & Kinross Council – faced tough competition from other Scottish regions who were continuing to aggressively upscale their marketing efforts to compete for the same cherished winter visitors.


So they asked Holyrood PR to formulate a two month public relations campaign to deliver on their objective. And despite the limited time given to put the plan in place, the results we delivered were extremely impressive:

  • A total gross expenditure impact of more than £6.5m according to an external evaluation of the success of The City of Perth Winter Festival.
  • An increase in footfall of more than 5000 people (total est. 98,488) compared to the previous year.
  • One of five visitors came from outside the region
  • One third of the total footfall coming from the main event – the Christmas Light Switch On in Perth.
  • More than 98% customer satisfaction at all events organised.

These results were crucial. It meant The City of Perth Winter Festival played a vitally important role in supporting Perth & Kinross Council’s desire for the region to become not just a must-see destination for visitors – but to support the campaign to drive significant numbers of high spending consumers.

Holyrood PR’s key role was to put in place a two-pronged PR plan; 1.  To target What’s On/Events/Christmas Guide columns with news of all the events in the winter festival; 2. To plan creative activities to promote the showpiece events during the festival.

It saw us work with a local chocolatier to create a special supply of ‘chocolate Brussels Sprouts’ and to plan a novel photocall featuring the annual Santa Run.

Here’s a look at some of our media releases and coverage 

The campaign generated 37 articles in regional and national newspapers with more than one third of the coverage featuring in national newspapers – helping to raise the profile of City of Perth Winter Festival across Scotland and the UK.

At the request of Perth & Kinross Council’s Enterprise & Infrastructure Committee, Bellerby Economics, in partnership with IBP Strategy and Research, were commissioned to undertake an evaluation of three of the key events in the 2015 festival programme – the Christmas Lights Switch On, Santa Run and a visit by the Coca Cola truck.

Councillor John Kellas, Convener of the Council’s Enterprise & Infrastructure Committee, said: “This evaluation of the switch on event really showed the value of this kind of large-scale activity for the vibrancy, economy and reputation of the city.

“The gross expenditure impact of the lights switch on day alone is over £5 million; around one in every five visitors to the event came from outside of Perth and Kinross, and 98% of visitors rated their overall experience as either good or very good – that is an excellent return for the city from an investment of £161,000.

“Two-thirds of the visitors surveyed have been to switch on events in previous years. The fact that they came back, plan to return in future years, and will recommend the city to their friends and families is a ringing endorsement of the approach this Council has taken to launching the festive period in the City of Perth. I can’t wait to see what’s planned for 2016!”


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Kenny Murray of Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Private: Kenny Murray

Kenny Murray is part of the expert PR team at Holyrood PR, an award-winnning Scottish public relations agency, which offers media relations, social media, photography, video, crisis management and PR in Edinburgh.

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