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Media Planning and Buying Marketing General Election

4 hours after Keir won, our Wickes ad van was helping with his new cabinet


By Richard Denney, Joint CCO

July 9, 2024 | 5 min read

St Luke’s Richard Denney takes us behind the scenes of an election results day stunt for Wickes that reportedly attracted 75m views.

Wickes ad

Last Monday, I thought it would be great to do something on Friday morning when (or if) Keir Starmer is announced as PM. This was perfect timing, as it was just ahead of our regular 11am client meeting with DIY and trade shop Wickes.

A few days later, our van was on BBC News, alongside all the election results/analysis–proudly displaying the line, ‘New cabinet, Keir? Our kitchen experts are here to help’.

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Job done.

Because Wickes is always keen to promote its fantastic kitchen offer, the “cabinet” connection felt irresistible, and the client was instantly behind the idea. It was important that it needed to be entirely non-political, and Wickes told us that the complete package was “easy to buy” because it spoke so naturally to its range without having to force the connection.

During the week, we refined the art direction and the line a bit. It works because it’s simple, humorous, light-hearted and fun. Most importantly, and a lesson I want you to take away from this, we weren’t having a pop at politicians or over-rinsing what Wickes does as a brand. By calling out the prime minister using his first name, we knew we’d get a lot of eyeballs and instant impact, as well as put a smile on people’s faces.

Despite the opinion polls, there was actually still a risk that Labour may not have won, so obviously, we discussed what we would do if it was going to be Rishi and not Keir living at Number 10 Downing Street. We came up with alternative lines, but they just weren’t as strong, so we decided to risk it. If the Tories had won, we would have canceled the whole thing, but because the costs were relatively low, and the chances of Labour getting in was high, everyone was prepared to take the chance.

After that Monday meeting, we made a mock-up, looked at costs and timings, and found an electric ad van that was available for Friday. On Wednesday, the client signed off on the line and the budget, so all that was left for us to do was finalize plans and nervously watch the results come in.

By about 5am on Friday, we knew that Keir would be the new PM, so we went into activation mode and at 9am, our van was out touring Westminster.

The impact was instant, with appearances in 74 different media outlets, including a great moment of visibility on a BBC News report, plus more than a million hits on social media. Wickes has estimated that the media has generated 75m views.

It’s created a lot of buzz around the agency, and despite the spontaneity, the whole project didn’t come out of the blue: we’ve already built up a newsroom mentality that facilitates fast, reactive, fame-driving work like Butterkist’s ‘Here for the drama’ moments around the Wagatha Christie trial and Partygate scandal.

Clients love proactive behavior that goes beyond the day-to-day, and Wickes has already asked us for more of this kind of work, so watch this space.

Media Planning and Buying Marketing General Election

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