The gauntlet was thrown down when we had to come up with a way to promote the benefits of walking that was like nothing that had come before for walking charity, Paths for All.
So, we conceived a unique, outdoor photography exhibition to capture the faces and stories of people who champion the joy of everyday walking.
We wanted to do far more than promote the health, mental and social benefits of walking. We wanted to discover and share stories of love, friendship and wellbeing to reach new audiences.
Thus, the Humans of the Walk campaign was born, and we set out to create an accessible and inspiring project. It also meant we had to find artists, subjects, a venue and a date that worked for everyone – despite having just a few short months to play with.
Little did we know our humble exhibition would later be invited to display in both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government HQ.
We had to dig out inspiring stories of a range of everyday people from eight to 86 years old and who represented people of different genders, ethnic backgrounds, abilities and lifestyles.
Then we had to find and commission photographers to capture honest and intimates portraits of them, all while sourcing a venue in the centre of the Scottish capital.
Our objective was to make this a multi-pronged, integrated campaign that would deliver extensive media coverage; create widespread social media buzz; attract at least 1000 visitors to the exhibition itself; and create a resource that could be used again and again.
Since a third of Scots aren’t active enough, it had to fully represent why Paths for All exists – and reach people of all ages and background with positive messages about the benefits of walking.
What we did
We brought in a group of female photographers from Edinburgh College of Art, CollectiveF8, who then travelled Scotland capturing intimate walking stories.
Timing was key: our exhibition launched at the start of National Walking Month coinciding with the UK’s first Open Streets movement in Edinburgh, providing a strong news angle.
Liaising with Edinburgh City Council, we ensured Humans of the Walk was part of Open Streets’ official activity planner/map.
The week-long exhibition took place at the Museum of Edinburgh’s courtyard – part of the Open Streets event – enabling easy access. Launch invites were sent to local media, MSPs and key stakeholders.
A teaser digital campaign built buzz before and during the exhibition/national walking month while a social media competition – supported by a regional media rollout – encouraged sharing of walking stories and photos using #HumansoftheWalk on Twitter/Instagram, for a chance to win a camera.