Despite Scotland’s place as the home of the bagpipes, the tradition of piping and Highland drumming was under threat, with dwindling numbers of young people learning the instruments.
A musical legacy once widely practised in schools suffered a slump. For Scotland to retain its status as the world’s piping centre change was needed.
Leading figures in the piping fraternity established the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships (SSPBC) to promote piping and highland drumming in Scottish schools. The SSPBC’s slogan is: “Every school needs a pipe band.”
Just 24 days before the championships organisers decided to raise awareness of the competition and its aims, so brought in Holyrood PR. Despite the challenging timescales we delivered an impactful public relations campaign with stunning and measurable results.
With just 24 days to work with and a limited budget, we kept the objectives very clear and simple.
Key among them was to highlight how piping needs to be made accessible in state schools – and how it is linked with an improvement in behaviour and performance.
Other targets included:
· Secure at least two significant items of national media coverage and an additional five items of regional media coverage
· Highlight the benefit of piping to schools by ensuring penetration of at least one Key Message in 75% of coverage generated
· Demonstrate a significant rise in website traffic
· Drive interest from schools to register for the 2014 Championships
What we did
As well as producing a suite of key messages to underpin all activity, we identified a series of eye-catching story lines including:
- Piping becoming a fashionable pursuit, particularly among teenagers
- A renaissance in Scottish state schools, including half of the 40 pipe bands competing
- A suggested link between better pupil behaviour in schools with pipe bands
- A rise in girls taking up piping and drumming, including a school where 80% of participants were female
With such strong story lines we arranged a Scotland-wide regional rollout focusing on the media serving the 40 participating schools. We also organised competition day photography, video and issuing of the results
We also invited media to attend the event, with The Scotsman, Scottish Daily Mail and STV turning out. Our free-to-use to use pictures and video content was shared extensively by piping and drumming influencers on social media, blogs, websites and discussion forums.