Revered ice cream maker Mackie’s of Scotland entered uncharted territory with its plans to open its first ever retail venture – a parlour in Aberdeen.
At a time when business analysts and economists were predicting the demise of the high street, it was imperative that we drummed up positive coverage and support for the grand unveiling of the new ice cream parlour, Mackie’s 19.2.
Opening in challenging times was further complicated by the parlour’s location in a new development with little footfall.
Meanwhile it also faced unexpected competition as a number of other new, rival parlours were also planning launches in the city.
To cap it all construction at Marischal Square was delayed by five months, forcing Mackie’s to shelf the perfect summer launch and open in the quieter, chillier winter months instead.
The main objective was to generate widespread positive buzz, while showcasing the parlour opening as an important evolution in a traditional-yet-dynamic family business.
With its roots firmly in the north-east of Scotland, local coverage was a must for the Mackie family and we agreed to deliver 25 items of coverage in key local titles.
That was to be augmented by national awareness-building – with targets for 20 items of national coverage.
The parlour was also to be a launchpad for raising greater awareness digitally – and targets included delivering 10,000 views of bespoke video content and driving an increase of 700 Facebook Likes during the campaign.
To overcome the winter slump in ice cream products – we had to turn the enforced cold season launch into an advantage.
The final objective was to help Mackie’s beat its own target of serving up 8000 scoops of ice cream in the first six weeks after opening.
What we did
We created a varied calendar of PR activity covering multiple topics to appeal to the widest audience.
The planner set out milestones and story opportunities –from construction and décor to flavour development and staff appointments, each with its specific target media.
An integrated approach used both traditional and social media, with a focus on video, covering an innovative peanut butter tap, haggis-flavour ice cream and a timelapse of the parlour fit out.
We drip-fed stories into the media months in advance of the proposed opening date – and when that was delayed, we were able to act swiftly to amend the planner and introduce a new story instead: Hot ice cream sales in cold winter months.
We built relationships with traditional print and broadcast outlets, as well as viral news platforms.
Most notably was the online video success we achieved, particularly with the parlour’s Peanut Butter Tap, which was shared by viral news giants LADBible, UNILAD and FOODbible.
Results we delivered
What we did
”They make PR successful yet painless and they make the effort to keep in touch with us to ensure that they know what’s going on in our business.
”They then use this knowledge creatively to spot storylines from our activity but also to make more suggestions, whether that’s an idea for the next sauce, another unusual flavour or other new activity.
“This combination has worked well for us – delivering viral videos, national press, local press and magazines.”