case-study-willows-xmas

Christmas at Willows Activity Farm

The run up to Christmas is a key trading period for client Willows Activity Farm.

The children’s leisure attraction has a well-established and well-loved Christmas offering but needed a PR and social media programme that would help it remain front of mind with families within a 40 minute drive time and beat off stiff competition from nearby central London attractions.

Freshwater devised an integrated programme of activity including video and social media content, a PR stunt and a corporate social responsibility initiative.

The first phase of the campaign began in summer 2014, with an idea to piggy-back on the rising popularity of YouTube videos of animals ‘talking’. We devised a plan with Willows to produce an alternative Christmas number one featuring an animal cast ‘singing’ classic carol “Little Donkey”.

A shot list was developed ahead of filming and sound recordings, which took place at Willows during the autumn. Once the carol had been edited together along with visuals from the farm, it was uploaded to YouTube and released to media to coincide with The X-Factor announcement of the song it had chosen for its own bid for Christmas number one.

In addition to being hosted on YouTube, the single was listed on iTunes with the revenue for any sales being pledged to charity Send A Cow.

Media relations around the launch were supported with a social media content plan for the Willows Facebook and Twitter feeds aggregated around the dedicated hashtag #WillowsXmas.

The second phase of Christmas promotion began in late November and centred on a creative photography stunt at Willows. A small flock of sheep were given a festive make-over using non-harmful sheep dyes in the run up to Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on the 12 December.

Freshwater worked with Willows to devise various seasonal designs for the sheep’s sweaters including holly and snowflakes. The photos and accompanying news release were issued in advance of the 12 December and seeded to parenting bloggers. Willows also made a commitment to donate for every child who visited the attraction on the 12 December to Save The Children. As a result of the activity, Willows was included in The Independent’s ‘12 Best Festive Family Days Out’ feature.


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