Country Cow Experiment Devised By Scottish PR Agency in Edinburgh

by Chris Fairbairn

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Ice Cream maker milks multiple media opportunities for its music loving cows, thanks to creativity of Scottish PR agency


Edinburgh PR agency show how they help clients achieve more media coverageIs your business interested in getting at least three times more positive media coverage than a basic PR campaign would deliver? This case study is part of our ‘Multiple Bites Of the Cherry’ series, showing how businesses like yours can get more by working with our PR agency. 


FRONT page coverage, tabloid spreads and broadcast fun – the media came together in perfect harmony for Mackie’s of Scotland and its big experiment playing country music to a herd of cows.

A story about a Scottish ice cream maker serenading its cows was a massive hit with the media and the positive coverage – around 40 significant articles – was music to the ears of the team at Mackie’s of Scotland.

This included local media, national news titles, online news sites, specialist farming and grocery media, radio coverage – and a massive spread of photo and video shares, views and Likes across social media. This cost-effective approach delivered outstanding results and incredible value for money.

Crucially, it was the blend of creativity and careful planning by our multi award-winning public relations agency that ensured Mackie’s enjoyed multiple bites of the cherry and achieved such impressive media saturation. Here’s how it worked:


1 – THE CONCEPT

Food and Drink PR coverage for Mackie's of Scotland Colin Clyne Country MusicWhen we learned Mackie’s was sponsoring a country music festival in Aberdeenshire, we came up with the idea of playing country music to the firm’s 45-strong herd of cows, which produce most of the cream which goes into Mackie’s delicious range of ice creams.

Happily, the Mackie’s team loved the concept. The animals are incredibly well looked after at the Aberdeenshire farm where the family-run business is based. Bosses were keen to establish if music would further improve their quality of life.

The resulting story about the great moo-sic experiment was a runaway success  reaching more than 3.5 million people.

However, that was no fluke. Every stage of the media rollout was planned with military precision to deliver multiple bites of the cherry for Mackie’s – with a series of separate stories, carefully times and each tailored to work in print, online and on air.

Anticipating the story would be popular across both traditional and online media, long before a word was printed we also arranged extensive professional photography and video. That way, we knew we’d have plenty of images to share with the media when the time was right.


2 – LOCAL AND LOVING IT

Like any great business, Mackie’s never takes its heartland for granted. The company is proud of its roots and heritage in the north east of Scotland and has some of its most devoted and loyal customers in the area. Also, the vast majority of the company’s long-serving staff live in Aberdeenshire.


Edinburgh PR agency guide to enjoying successful local public relations campaignsWe never under estimate the power of positive PR on your doorstep. Find out exactly why it is so vital and so beneficial to get media coverage on your home turf, in our essential guide, Local & Loving It.


So, when it came to announcing the story, we offered it exclusively to the much-loved local newspaper, the Aberdeen Evening Express. The title was delighted to have first run at such an engaging and entertaining story it even sent along a banjo-playing reporter to serenade the cows (well worth following this link to view the video!).

Front page public relations success for Mackie's of ScotlandThe results were stellar as the paper dedicated an incredible, colourful front page to the story – completed with the headline Now That’s What I call Moosic! –  along with a two page spread inside.

Measuring the value of this kind of coverage is off the scale. As well as selling 31,000 copies every day, the newspaper reaches an estimated 100,000 readers daily, with many more checking out its stories online.

It’s worth noting that follow up coverage also appeared ina raft of other valued and respected local newspapers, including the Inverurie Herald, Mearns Leader and Ellon Times. Local newspapers have almost blanket penetration in their communities and are highly trusted.

Such coverage reaches business partners, suppliers and potential customers across its most important geographical market. Meanwhile, this great, feel good story also delivered a welcome boost to the hardworking team at Mackie’s farm, who were thrilled to see their efforts being reflected so positively.

Almost as importantly, the eye-catching front page story in the Evening Express also created a huge buzz around the story, which perfectly set up the next phase of our media rollout – and helped deliver the next bite at the media cherry.


2- NATIONAL REACH

Scottish PR agency country cow music experiment Mackie's of ScotlandMackie’s was now perfectly set up to see the rollout of its story (along with the accompanying photos and video) to the rest of the Scottish media.

Among the widespread coverage, these were some of the highlights:

  • Page lead article in the Scottish Sun, with teaser article at front of paper
  • Coverage in The Scotsman, both in print and online
  •  Featured coverage in Scotland on Sunday
  • A positive article in the Sunday Post 
  •  Follow up mentions in both Martin Geissler and Tam Cowan’s widely-read Sun columns. 

In fact, the story merited FOUR separate mentions in the Scottish Sun, which is Scotland’s biggest daily newspaper, selling a quarter of a million copies every day and reaching more than 750,000 readers.

This ensured the second wave of coverage was powerful, far-reaching and positive, getting important and memorable messages about Mackie’s Ice Cream in front of a huge audience.


3 – TAKING TO THE AIRWAVES

John Beattie on Radio ScotlandNext up we offered an interview to a popular show on hugely influential Radio Scotland.

A director of Mackie’s was interviewed at length on the John Beattie show, which reaches a massive potential audience of 950,000.

Just to add the icing to that particular cake, the BBC team also used the video we provided for them and edited it into a package which appeared on Radio Scotland’s Facebook page, racking up a further 4900 views in the days immediately following the broadcast.

Any business which has ever featured on the BBC knows first hand the influence and reach of the national broadcaster. It is one of the most trusted and respected news sources both in the UK and across the rest of the world.


4 – BEING SOCIAL

Happily the photos and video we arranged on the farm – featuring acclaimed local country musician Colin Clyne,  founder of Stonehaven’s ‘Doricana Fest’ – tickled the media taste buds.

However, we also made sure those visuals were spread as far and wide as possible, most notably on Mackie’s own social media channels.

That saw the story, pics and video shared with more than 40,000 ice cream lovers who have signed up for the Friends Of Mackie’s programme.

With that kind of clout the video quickly racked up more than 9000 views on the hugely popular Mackie’s Facebook page.

You can check it out for yourself, below:


5 – THE FOLLOW UP STORY

Mackie's of Scotland Cowshed PR photographyMany businesses (and their unimaginative PR advisers) take a “one and done” view on stories like this.

That means they tell the story just once and then forget about it. Not us. We realise that the best stories deserve to be told again and again – and that such great stories which have caught the public imagination deserve to be mined.

In this case we planned a detailed follow-up story at the end of the two-week music trial, once the results had been fully collated and analysed. You can read the full round-up of those results in this  follow-up media release, which revealed that the cows actually produced less milk despite being significantly more active.

Again the media interest was extensive with some of the highlights including:

  • An extensive mention on Capital FM’s Des & Jennie Breakfast Show
  •  A front page article in The Herald
  •  National newspaper coverage in The Sun, The Daily Express and The Daily Mail
  •  Further print coverage in The Courier and The Aberdeen Evening Express

Even by this point we knew the story still wasn’t exhausted. We kept in touch with the Aberdeen Evening Express – who later ran another follow up feature, reporting that Mackie’s was planning the installation of a sound system at its hi-tech cowshed.


6 – SPECIALIST TITLES

Music being played In Mackie's of Scotland cowshedUnderstandably Mackie’s were delighted with the creative and well-planned media rollout – and with the extensive, valuable coverage it generated.

But this campaign was the gift that kept on giving – and there was a further benefit to be revealed.

As well as targeting the mainstream local and national news media – on paper, online and on air – we also tailored every aspect of the campaign for specialist publications, including the highly influential farming media.

As a result, Mackie’s also enjoyed a significant and positive profile boost in a range of niche titles which are important to its business, including impressive trade magazine, The Grocer. Other highlights included coverage in:

  • Farming Life
  • The Scottish Farmer
  • Farm Business
  • Farming UK
  • Farm Week
  • Animal Health Media

The sheer range and depth of the coverage achieved on behalf of Mackie’s exceeded all of their expectations – and the company is now a total convert to the Holyrood PR ‘Multiple Bites of the Cherry’ approach to successful public relations.


 

Find out how our award-winning public relations agency can dig out great stories for your business for great Food and Drink PR

As on of Scotland’s best-loved food brands, Mackie’s is already a familiar name, but has seen its profile boosted positively by working with Holyrood PR.,

However whatever size of business you are in and whatever sector, our storytelling skills and creativity can help your business too.

We’d love the chance to chat with you about the many benefits a value-for-money PR campaign could deliver for your business. We’re a friendly bunch and getting in touch couldn’t be easier. Simply phone us on 0131 561 2244, or take a few seconds to completed the simple form, below, and we’ll get straight back to you.

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Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is a PR account manager with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood Partnership. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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