Charity PR in Scotland: The Bagpipe Amnesty
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
on behalf of Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships
Campaign to give free tuition to schoolkids across Scotland smashes targets with effective public relations
Is 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.
THERE are few things as impressive as the sound of massed pipes and drums
Yet when you are up close you won’t hear much else – a reminder of the challenge which many businesses face.
If you’ve ever tried to get your messages heard by potential customers, then the chances are you’ve discovered just how difficult it is to cut through the noise. So how can we help with that?
Every sector is competitive and businesses can easily be drowned out by rivals with money to spend on advertising, by the 24-hour news culture and by the non-stop whirlwind of social media. That’s where Holyrood PR comes in, ensuring clients get incredible value for money by delivering multiple bites of the cherry on every project.
We make sure your stories cut through, on paper, online and on air and we tell those stories brilliantly in words, picture and video. That means you won’t see your story appear just once, then quickly fade away. We’ll get to multiple audiences, across multiple platform and make sure your stories get told multiple times.
MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
A prime example is the amazing results we delivered for charitable organisation, the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), which manages the school piping championships and also gives free tuition to more than 1000 pupils in Scotland, many in deprived areas
In early 2016 we worked with the SSPDT to organise an innovative ‘bagpipe amnesty’ called Old Pipes for New Players, with a view to collecting old and unwanted bagpipes which could be refurbished and used in schools across the country, teaching a new generation the joy of the pipes.
Despite a modest budget the results exceeded all targets and expectations, including:
- 74 significant items of media coverage (the target was 27)
- 8,236,679 Opportunities To See (OTS) the charity’s messages (the target was 2.5 million)
- 24 sets of valuable bagpipes donated (the target was 10 sets)
SO JUST HOW DID WE DO IT?
With every client we help them set out a clear PR plan, which is kept realistic because it is tied to their calendar of events and important milestones.
For the SSPDT we agreed the priorities should be a high-impact launch, followed by a rollout to every corner of Scotland – all neatly wrapped up with stories about the generous donations we knew would follow.
On top of that we carefully planned and delivered eye-catching photography and video to ensure the stories would work for the widest posible range of media outlets, whether on paper, online or on air.
It’s our tried and tested method of delivering multiple bites of the cherry which leaves clients delighted at the extensive media coveraged they see as a result.
1 – TUNING UP
We knew it was essential to get the perfect start – something to make a major splash in the media, while giving us a selection of images and video material to underpin the rest of the campaign.
So, we conceived a photocall to make the most of the innovative tie up with the Scottish Fire Service, which had agreed to let fire stations be used as drop off points for donated bagpipes.
Check out the full gallery of colourful images yielded from the well-attended photo opportunity organised by the expert public relations team at Holyrood PR in Edinburgh. These pictures graced dozens of media reports as a result.
Since we wanted to work with the diverse group of kids who had developed a passion for piping, thanks to the SSPDT’s Govan Schools Programme, Govan Fire Station proved to be the ideal spot.
Working carefully with all parties, we also pinpointed Burn’s Night as a perfect date in the Scottish calendar and the ideal launch pad for such an important appeal to help safeguard the future of Scotland’s national instrument.
From there we targeted every major news and picture desk in Scotland – giving them advance notices of the photocall and a taster of the story behind it. On the day, I travelled through from Edinburgh Glasgow to make sure I was on hand to help journalists and photographers to the get the pictures and the information they wanted.
It was a huge success, attracting crews from both BBC and STV, as well as a number of photographers. It yielded dozens of items of media coverage, including valuable TV exposure, alongside powerful articles in The Scotsman, Sun, Metro and The Herald and many more.
Better yet, the launch also yielded a host of eye catching images and video interviews which we then used across the rest of the campaign. The video received many views across both Facebook and YouTube, while it was also embedded on influential sites including The Scotsman and www.pipebandhub.co.uk.
2 – SQUEEZING THE BAG
At Holyrood PR we *never* underestimate the power of local media.
In fact, we believe that local newspapers, radio stations and news sites are so influential and so important to the communities they serve that we have a dedicated local media service for our clients – we call it our Regional Rollout.
For SSPDT the regional rollout was the heart and soul of the campaign. We wanted news of the Bagpipe Amnesty to reach every town and village across Scotland – including remote communities – from Dumfries to Shetland and from the Borders to the Western Isles.
That kind of reach can only be achieved by harnessing the trusted local media, usually the well-regarded weekly newspapers which serve exactly such communities.
So that’s exactly what we did. And the results were jaw dropping. Our media release and accompany photos of the Govan schoolkids and firefighters generated coverage in dozens of local media titles, serving every corner of Scotland.
3 – HITTING THE HIGH NOTES
The real success of any PR campaign is in its effectiveness in changing or influencing behaviour. So we were carefully monitoring the numbers of sets of bagpipes being donated. We didn’t have to wait long
The coverage achieved from the initial launch event, release, photo call and video was so powerful that within the first three days of the campaign launch, 10 bagpipes were donated – including a set from across the pond in the US.
We knew this was an incredibly powerful story, so quickly tracked down Andi Gamble, the woman who donated the pipes. We interviewed her to find out here back story, arranged pictures – and promptly hit the media jackpot.
Tracking down Andi Gamble the donator of pipes all the way from the USA, we generated even more coverage surrounding the bagpipes which have travelled 4000 miles to give young players a chance to learn.
The story of her bagpipes being send more than 4000 miles to give young players a chance to learn the instrument which had given her so much joy and opportunity, really caught the media imagination, yielding major coverage in Scotland, as well as elsewhere in the UK, attracting headlines in Belfast, Yorkshire and the Channel Islands.
That in turn made sure the innovative campaign enjoyed even more reach and exposure, reaching a potentially enormous audience.
Such was the success that the SSPDT had to extend the campaign. Originally the appeal was scheduled t last from February 1-14. However, the deadline ended there was still many people wanting to hand in their old bagpipes. As a result the SSPBC arranged for donations to continue to be made to Wallace Bagpipes or to be collected from the donor’s house.
A great success for a really worthwhile cause
At Holyrood PR we make special efforts to celebrate the successes we enjoy on behalf of clients – and this example was particularly pleasing because it benefitted such a worthwhile cause.
The SSPDT aims to advance education the arts, heritage, culture and community development by encouraging young people in Scotland to take up and play the chanter, pipes and drums; and by supporting the development of school pipe bands.
It has 14 programmes running in 11 local authority areas where free piping lessons are being given to school children. In doing so, the Trust supports young people to broaden their education, in particular their musical and social skills.
Find out how your business can make a big noise in the media – with help from public relations
We hope this blog has given you a better insight into why PR is beneficial for your business and how it can help increase your bottom line.
But if you still have a few questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the contact form below and we will get right back to you.
Raymond Notarangelo, co-founded Scottish PR agency, Holyrood PR after spotting a gap for colourful and innovative public relations in Edinburgh. He now leads a team providing media relations, social media, video, photography, brand newsrooms, crisis communication and media relations.View Raymond's Profile
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