MERRY KISSMAS for Covent Garden

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MERRY KISSMAS

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Industry Shows, Events & Festivals
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Released August 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Advertiser: COVENT GARDEN LONDON
Product/Service: INTERACTIVE CHRISTMAS TREE
Managing Director: Ruth Warder
Account Director: Helena Wiltshire
Senior Publicity Strategist: Paul McEntee
Account Manager: Emily Brown
Publicity Manager: Ashley Gerrie
Senior Account Executive: Anne Ryan
Senior Account Executive: Rebecca Rippin
Account Executive: Laura Dodgson
Media placement: Pre-Launch Decoration Installation Photo Call Notice - Including,The Guardian, The Financial Times, Evening Standard - 27 October 2010
Media placement: Campaign Announcement - Including, Evening Standard, Time Out, View London, Visit London, TNT Magazine, - 4 November 2010
Media placement: Launch Photo Call Notice And Asset Release (B-Roll And Images) - Including, ITV Daybreak, ITN, Sky One, Daily Mail, Metro And Internationally On - 11 November 2010
Media placement: International Kissing Night Media Release - Including, The Times And TNT Magazine - 25 November 2010
Media placement: Singles Night Media Release - Including, 40andsingle.com, TNT Magazine And Time Out - 9 December 2010
Media placement: Late Night Christmas Shopping Night Media Release - Including, Time Out, TNT Magazine, Urban Junkies And View London - 2 December 2010

Summary of the Campaign
In London’s tough retail environment, Covent Garden faced intense competition from other destinations. The challenge was to establish the area as the 'must visit' Christmas shopping destination, demonstrating Covent Garden’s point of difference by presenting a unique experience in London. The 'Merry Kissmas' campaign used KISS - an interactive installation - as a centerpiece to bring people together, tapping into people’s desire to share experiences with their friends.
A seven week campaign encouraged shoppers to visit Covent Garden over the Christmas period, centering on Kiss - the world’s first interactive Christmas tree. Based on human touch, Kiss was activated by a mistletoe kiss, triggering 50,000 lights to pulse through the 50ft tree, creating a sensational lighting effect. It launched with a public kiss auction via Twitter with TV presenter Christine Bleakley, followed by a high-profile celeb kiss with Louie Spence. This was supported by an integrated publicity campaign, cause-related marketing and commercial sponsorship.
The resulting campaign attracted over 3.87 million visitors in December, generated blanket national and global coverage that was up 43% on 2009, engaged over 100,000 social media users, bringing the activity to a younger, digitally savvy audience, and raising £30,000 for the Prince’s Trust.

The Situation
The lead up to Christmas in London presents consumers with numerous shopping destinations, many of which offer Christmas themed attractions that are interchangeable and indistinctive from each other. Covent Garden London is an area that has a rich cultural heritage, offering world class retail and dining options. The task was to demonstrate Covent Garden’s point of difference, offering an experience that balanced the traditional Christmas experience with something that would appeal to younger, more digitally aware shoppers, drawing a new audience while pleasing another.

The Goal
To position Covent Garden as the 'must visit' Christmas shopping destination, providing a unique experience that couldn’t be found elsewhere in London, targeting:
• Existing core consumers including families, young professionals and shoppers visiting the capital
• A harder to influence younger, style and trend-aware audience not necessarily loyal to any one shopping area

Ultimately it was imperative to bring people together at Covent Garden, giving them a heart-warming and magical 'wow' moment to be part of their Christmas 2010 memories.

The agency observed how major public art installations, especially those with an interactive element, have the ability to drive footfall and stimulate discussions online and coverage offline.

The Strategy
The agency decided to create a cutting edge digital installation that would also reflect the family friendly nature of Christmas. The agency commissioned an up and coming British artist to design a 50ft Christmas tree adorned with 50,000 LED lights that would be triggered by human touch whenever people shared a mistletoe kiss beneath it. This simple piece of public participation, perfectly attuned to the Christmas season, captured the imagination of Londoners and tourists.
Tens of thousands of people - young and old, friends and couples - were inspired to share a kiss, and the moments were captured by countless mobile phones and cameras and shared via social networks. This digital buzz was further enhanced through the agency’s use of hashtags and publication of images and updates via the Covent Garden Twitter and Facebook pages.

Execution
The campaign launched on 11 November with a kiss auctioned on Twitter between TV presenter Christine Bleakley and a member of the public, starting the online buzz. This was followed by a high-profile celebrity kiss between Christine and Pineapple Dance Studios’ Louie Spence. Covent Garden tenants participated in the launch to enhance the experience: The Real Food Market offered aphrodisiac products, The Apple Market sold kiss-themed gifts, Ella’s Bakehouse sold 'kiss cupcakes' and The Body Shop created a 'pucker up station' to get people in the mood.
A calendar of activities - all relating to KISS - was created to sustain interest, particularly in December when competition from other locations was at its fiercest. Events included a "Fancy A Kiss?" singles night and 'International Kissing Night' where foreign nationals were filmed under the tree to pass on kisses to loved ones abroad.
Participation was also encouraged through a cause-related element, donating £1 to The Prince’s Trust for each kiss.

Documented Results
Despite adverse weather affecting the whole country during the festive period, Covent Garden attracted 3.87 million visitors in December alone.

The campaign resulted in over 300 pieces of branded coverage (up 43% from Christmas 2009), including significant national pieces on ITV Daybreak, ITN, Sky One, LBC radio, The Times, Daily Mail and Metro, whilst international coverage included Sky Australia, China, Russia and Brazil.

This delivered an AVE of £1,092,345 and 63,393,592 OTS. Highly influential social media engaged over 100,000 users, with tweets and blogs encouraging people to visit the area and sharing their experiences, passing on the feel-good element. Additionally, £30,000 was raised for the Prince’s Trust charity. From international visitors and Londoners, singletons and happy couples, to retailers, the charity partner and media – all parties were reached via one activation, bringing people together at Christmas in an innovative, engaging way.