Hamp Hamilton Award
Glasgow commuters chill-out on the underground as part of the awareness campaign planned and implmented by Morrison.Background
Ã¯ Morgan’s Spiced is drunk mostly by males and females aged 18-34, who enjoy lively socialising both at home and in pubs and clubs and could be described as urban fun seekers.
Ã¯ The brand proposition is “chilling out.”
Ã¯ There is a strong association with R&B, garage and hip hop music through a series of events called Sound Presence nights, held at various venues across the UK.
Ã¯ In 2000, the brand’s “Feel the Presence” TV ad theme was widened in Scotland when Morgan’s introduced full branding of a train and tunnel mouth on the Glasgow Underground.
In Spring 2001, Seagram approached Leedex Euro RSCG with a PR brief to maximise awareness of the Glasgow Underground “branded train” sponsorship, to extend the brand’s music offer beyond Sound Presence nights and to raise awareness of the Morgan’s Spiced brand personality.
During a brainstorm about how to extend the brand, we discussed ideas around the Sound Presence nights and the branded train. I came up with the idea of “Underground Sounds”, an innovative series of music events to be held on the Morgan’s branded train in the Glasgow Underground. I recommended the inclusion of a masseur to tie in with the chill-out theme and with Morgan’s spicy, vanilla flavour. We chose Thursday nights for the events, as the trains would be busy with people either coming home from late-night shopping or going out on the town.
I was the lead consultant on the project, overseen by account director Nancy Riach. I conducted extensive desk research into the music scene, confirmed supplier costings, checked listings deadlines and discussed legalities and safety aspects with Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT).
An industry first was achieved when SPT agreed to let us set up a series of acoustic R&B music sessions on the Underground and create a chill-out carriage with aromatherapy massage for passengers. I was involved in writing the mail-out to venues, sourcing the musicians, the masseur and photographer, arranging cocktail cubes and T-shirts to be supplied as give-aways for the musicians and passengers, running the launch event photo call, attending the events and talking up the brand on the train with musicians, the media and the passengers. Once Nancy had negotiated the supplier deals, I handled all further arrangements. I also arranged for fliers for Sound Presence nights in Glasgow to be given away on the train and talked up the brand’s music policy.
Before the activity began, we drew up a PR planning model with the following objectives:
Ã¯ Mailing to over 40 venues and music agents offering the train as a “jamming space”
Ã¯ Two up-and-coming R&B or garage bands booked for the events
Ã¯ Four events set up on the Morgan’s Spiced branded train in June
Ã¯ Minimum of one event listing and one piece of broadcast coverage per event and two national hits exploiting the innovative news value of the activity.
The evaluation measured how well we had met these objectives but also looked at:
Ã¯ Positive feedback from passengers, SPT, the brand owners and the media
Ã¯ Analysis of the media coverage, including mentions of key messages, use of photography, size of articles, positive/negative angles.
All the objectives of the campaign were met and exceeded within budget. The client was extremely pleased with the way the PR brief had been interpreted.
Ã¯ The circulation and audience reach for the coverage was over seven million
Ã¯ 90 per cent of the extensive broadcast and press coverage included mentions of the Morgan’s Spiced train, the chill-out message and the music connection
Ã¯ Being able to run the activity on an underground train brought to life the “Feel the Presence” message
Ã¯ The use of the live musicians continued the association with R&B and garage but moved it away from the Sound Presence nights
Ã¯ The mailing to the 40 venues and agents was completed, capturing the imagination of the musicians, who were highly interested in being involved because of the unique venue
Ã¯ Leedex secured Stonecut and Pesty as the bands for the event series. Stonecut went on to play T in the Park and cut their first CD shortly afterwards
Ã¯ The events were held on 7, 14, 21 and 28 June
Ã¯ Ten listings were achieved in Metro, Sunday Herald, Scottish Sun and on music website RedT.co.uk
Ã¯ Eight pieces of broadcast coverage were achieved, including an interview with the client on BBC Radio Scotland
Ã¯ There were three pieces of national coverage
Ã¯ The total circulation was over seven million and the articles were 100 per cent positive.
There was strong positive anecdotal feedback from passengers and the media (if somewhat tongue in cheek):
“A trial run this week with the band Stonecut was getting little response from the travelling public, who naturally looked away, not knowing what was going on. The ice was broken, however, by a photographer sent along to cover the event, who asked a band member, Jaimie, who was playing a hand-held harmonium, which you blow into: ‘Could you just lie down on the floor and put your organ in your mouth.’ For some reason this innocent request caused much mirth from the passengers, who then tapped their feet to the music.” – The Herald Diary section
“Fraser Simpson, 22, a part-time student at Cardonald College has taken the underground on a Thursday evening to see the bands since the venture began. Last night he had to take a 40-minute train ride from his home in Beith, Ayrshire, to see Stonecut again.” – The Herald.
“I am not sure if any of you made it to the Morgan’s Spiced Underground Sounds nights on the Glasgow Underground but can I just say they were a great idea and when are they happening again?” – Bev Lyons, Clyde One.
The Seagram brand manager, Sarah McNaught, said: “We were the first to fully brand a train in Scotland and we recognised the value of this to help Morgan’s Spiced achieve standout in a highly competitive marketplace. The Underground Sounds innovation was a highly cost effective way of reinforcing the brand’s heritage, putting a face to the brand and bringing it to life, as well as indirectly increasing sales volumes.”
Moray Macdonald, Chief PR and marketing officer, SPT, said: “The concept was innovative, the organisation and execution were first class and the passengers clearly enjoyed it! We also benefited from the number of mentions of the Underground in the listings and the positive coverage in the local media.”
Discussions were held with ScotRail, which was interested in extending the activity to its Glasgow–Edinburgh line. Seagram seriously considered extending the branded train sponsorship in Glasgow and widening the music activity to run in the rest of Scotland. However, the brand was put up for sale in Autumn 2001 and all activity was put on hold.