Launch of Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail
23 May 2003
The Countryside Agency (CA) with Navigator PR & Marketing
|PR fee £25,000 Promotional literature and
material £15,000 Launch event £30,000
Announce the opening of the new Hadrian's
Wall Path National Trail, on 23 May 2003, England and Wales'
13th National Trail. The first time since the Romans that
walkers would be able to follow the entire length of Hadrian's
Wall along an unbroken, 84 mile, path from coast to coast
- from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. It took seven years
and £6million to create (including £3m from Heritage
1. To make the opening of the new Trail known
widely across the UK
2. Highlight the CA as the creator of the
3. Ensure active support from public and private
sector partners e.g local authorities, service providers,
along the Trail so they can continue post launch marketing.
4. Demonstrate that (a) The Trail is open
(b) The CA investment will open the area to tourists, play
a key role in protecting a fragile World Heritage Site and
bring much needed jobs and income to the local rural economy.
A 12-month programme to culminate in three
launch day events featuring70 Roman re-enactors in Bowness,
Walltown (mid point on Wall) and Wallsend. All media activity
to focus on launch week rather than significant pre launch
publicity - as the Trail was not ready to take walkers until
Target audiences were (i) Partners, (ii) Travel
Trade, (iii) Walkers,
(iv) UK population, (v) Regional residents.
|Broadcast quality film:In August 02 a helicopter was hired
and a two hour broadcast quality film created of the entire
Trail. It was anticipated that broadcast media would use this
aerial footage at launch.
|In Aug 02 photography was commissioned to show various types
of walker -i.e youth, less able - and brand shots capturing
the spirit of the Trail through blue sky, rugged terrain and
walkers enjoying the view. A photo CD was created for the press.
|An initial meeting in June 02 sought partner support. In October
a specially created four minute video was distributed to chief
executives of partners to demonstrate the CA approach. Regular
partner meetings reinforced buy in.
|In Jan an advance notice press release targeted travel trade
media and travel writers. Key media were sent the photo CD.
In March presentations were made at three key travel trade fairs,
Great Outdoors Show, NEC, Travel Trade Fair, NEC, and Opad,
Dutch travel fair. 150 national and international journalists
saw the promotional video at the TTF opening event and 15 writers
requested visits prior to the Trail opening.
|In Jan, selected outdoor and walking writers received the
advance release and photo CD. Eight requested visits. In March,
CA Chief Executive, Richard Wakeford invited Country Walking
readers to walk the Trail with him, to check final preparations,
in the week before the opening.
In Jan 03 advance notice press release was
issued to national media journalists including countryside
writers and hard news journalists. Most national broadsheets
arranged to visit prior to the opening, with itinerary and
funding provided by Hadrian's Wall Tourism Partnership. In
April sell in calls were targeted at news and consumer broadcast
media. The CA's aerial video footage was supplied to BBC TV,
Sky News, Countryfile and Blue Peter.
Branded literature included an introductory
leaflet. A 'walker's passport' was produced with £5000
sponsorship from local brewers Jennings. With partners we
produced an official guidebook and map, accommodation guide
and events list. A Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail web
site www.nationaltrail.co.uk was created. Journalists were
given case studies of businesses expecting to prosper from
the Trail, demonstrating the Trail's economic benefit. These
case studies were featured in a double page spread in the
CA's national newsletter (circ 19,000). In May key media were
targeted regarding Richard Wakeford's walk. Daily media interviews
were arranged starting on 'day one' with Radio 4's The Today
programme. A week prior to opening a launch release reminded
journalists of the event.
|Bowness residents were concerned about the impact of tourists
on the small village. Keeping residents informed well in advance
of the launch was the strategy's focus. Communications work
included public meetings, radio phone ins, a village newsletter
and involving resident representatives in the planning process.
| Launch day - Bowness
|All 70 pupils from the village school were in Roman costume
at the opening ceremony. Wallsend; After a Roman re-enactment,
local celebrity Matt Baker of Blue Peter performed the official
opening. A launch press pack was issued containing a press release,
case study details and background to the Trail. Walltown; Mid
point on Wall. A lunch, video film and Roman re-enactment was
held for partners.
|Outcomes/Relation to objectives and cost
1. Make opening widely known
An estimated 20million newspaper readers and
8 million TV viewers had an opportunity to see coverage, with
advertising equivalent exposure worth £1.5million. All
national TV news programmes covered the launch which, supported
by the CA's £6,000 aerial footage, generated over 60
minutes of TV time, including a two minute fast forward of
the entire route on BBC Look North. In total, approx 8 million
viewers saw footage worth an advertising equivalent of £1.25m.
300 separate press articles were achieved with 33% using photographs.
41 national daily press/ colour magazines articles were achieved.
These 41 articles had editorial space at ad equivalent rates
worth £250,000. Sky TV ran live broadcasts throughout
the day from locations on the Wall. BBC TV breakfast and GMTV
weather girls broadcast live from the Wall. BBC Breakfast
News and One O'Clock News, ITN and Channel Five News carried
interviews from the launch. BBC Look North carried an eight
minute live feed and Border TV and Tynes Tees TV carried interviews
and launch footage. The Guardian ran a full back page preview
article. The Daily Telegraph and Independent sent reporters
who included case studies from the press pack. 27 radio features
and interviews were generated on launch day including R4's
Today and Radio 5 Live. Blue Peter and Countryfile ran eight
and seven minute slots. Two German film crews attended the
launch. An informal survey showed 90% of people questioned
a week later were aware the Trail was open.
2. Highlight Countryside Agency as creator
Almost half the articles credited the Countryside
Agency as Trail creators. CA branding was visible in all TV
broadcasts and the Chief Executive and Trail Development Officer
did 50 interviews.
Inclusive consultation encouraged 15 organisations
to contribute with financial support and payment in kind to
the launch, e.g Tynedale District Council commissioned its
own VNR, with finance from Hadrian's Wall Tourism Partnership,
incorporating the CA's aerial footage.
4(a) Trail is open
Approximately 700 people walked the Trail
from coast to coast in the four weeks after opening. Hadrianswall.org
web site received 35,000 hits in May 03 compared to 23,000
in May 02, a year on year increase of over 50%. Hadrian's
Wall Information Line received four times as many enquiries
as usual- over 2000 phone and email (normally 500) -from 19
May to 6 June. An extra member of staff was brought in to
handle the increased volume of calls and other visitor centres
helped out. Visitor numbers at Wall sites in June are up significantly
on 2002 -often by 50%.The AD122 Hadrian's Wall public bus
is carrying 70% more passengers than last year. 25,000 Trail
information leaflets were produced and a 30,000 reprint was
needed even before the launch. 4,000 official guidebooks,
at £12.99, sold out in just three weeks -making Stanford
Books' top 5 best seller list. A reprint is now underway.
Hadrian's Wall Tourism Partnership produced 25,000 accommodation
guides in March and stocks are now exhausted. 15 Country Walking
readers walked with Richard Wakeford.
4(b) Rural regeneration
A business survey is underway (with completion
end July) but anecdotal evidence shows most accommodation
already fully booked for the season. As Trail walkers spend
an average £30 per day per person, the first 700 walkers
have already spent over £100,000 in the local economy
-excluding day trippers and other visitors.
|Advance planning brought positive buy in from public and private
sector partners. The aerial video and photographs were used
widely. Re-enactors brought a Roman link and provided a strong
visual message for TV. Widespread and early consultation with
Bowness residents brought local support and avoided adverse
|Navigator PR, the CA's regional PR consultancy, planned and
co-ordinated media liaison, designed and produced all promotional
material, obtained sponsorship, and liaised with Alan Hillary
Event Management team. Countryside Agency PR team sold the story
to key national media.
Navigator PR& Marketing Communications
Paul Johnston, Philip Young and Olivia Assheton
Navigator PR & Marketing Communications |
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