Walking is the best and easiest way to be active – preventing chronic illness, improving wellbeing and extending lives.
Paths for All’s mission is to get Scotland walking. Its campaign ‘Walk Once A Day This Winter’ was to raise awareness of the physical, mental and social benefits, particularly through the pandemic.
During lockdown walking for exercise was one of the main reasons people could leave home. Research found Scots were enjoying the outdoors more than any other parts of the UK.
This presented an opportunity for Paths for All to get Scots walking – with the challenge over a two-month PR project to reach people of all ages/backgrounds – sparking conversations about the multiple benefits of walking, while cutting through the Covid-19 noise.
With tight timescales and a limited budget we set out clear targets, agreed with Paths for All, to keep the campaign focused.
The first target was to deliver at least 30 items of media coverage, so driving 10,000 web visits to the dedicated campaign page. We also sought to achieve at least 500 public sign-ups to the campaign and to secure Government support.
Communication was tailored for four target audiences: older adults; people with long-term conditions; children and young families; home workers.
This required clearly segmented stories. The first was to highlight key findings from a YouGov survey, backed by Scotland’s chief medical officer – aimed at older and vulnerable Scots.
A second story capitalised on the festive lockdown by highlighting walking activities for families. While a third story attracted the support of Public Health minister Mairi Gougeon, urging home workers to walk during screen breaks.
What we did
A multitude of small creative steps accumulated into huge campaign success. Those included:
Finding unique hooks for each story – from humanising case studies to new facts, stats and research. All packaged to ensure Paths for All never came across as pushy or preachy.
Newsjacking of current events and breaking stories to ensure the Paths for All walking message piggybacked on reporting of wider issues, including festive lockdown restrictions.
Clever segmenting of the campaign rollout, with dedicated tiers for regional, local, national and specialist media, delivering maximum cut through.
Relentlessly positive and upbeat messaging, which secured Government backing from the public health minister, from the Scottish Government’s dedicated health Twitter feed, from Scotland’s public mental health team and from Active Scotland.
All of this led to us smashing media coverage targets by 450%, sign-up targets by 172% and website visit targets by 340%.