From locals to Love Islanders: Cartwright gives Nottingham a ‘taste of the #HighLife’

Nottingham’s newest bar, Alto, launched this week and Cartwright was set the task of building the guest list – as well as creating and implementing a social media strategy for the VIP launch event.

Launching Nottingham’s newest hotspot

With school summer holidays in full swing, conventional wisdom suggests that August would be a tricky month to run any kind of event, not least one where you want to make a big impression.

Fortunately, when we were approached by the owners of Alto to launch the new bar set to take over the old Saltwater space in the Cornerhouse, the raw materials were in place to pull off something really special – with a little bit of help from Love Island.

We were tasked with creating and implementing a social media strategy for the event, as well as building a guest list worthy of one of Nottingham’s prime night-time locations.

Creating and implementing the social media strategy

With the bar possessing the city’s only rooftop terrace, we built the launch around giving attendees a “taste of the #highlife”.

This core message ran through the social media campaign across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, helping build a buzz around both the VIP launch event and the subsequent public opening.

A key part of this strategy was to engage Nottingham’s social media influencers.

The likes of TalkBeckyTalk, Cordelia Hearts and Janine Spencer have tens of thousands of followers – many of whom are in the bar’s target market – so inviting them to the launch in an Insta-worthy way was critical.

To do this, we devised a cocktail called ‘The #HighLife’, which we sent out to selected influencers along with a glass, shaker and dry ice.

The limited lifespan of the dry ice in particular proved a significant logistical challenge, but we were able to turn the whole “race against time” element into further content for social media.

Building the guest list

With Carl Froch being one of the bar’s co-owners, the VIP launch built on that star power with a guest list that included Love Island stars Sam Bird and Chris Hughes, Sky Sports’ Johnny Nelson and Nottingham’s own grime sensation Gino.

The event itself was a huge success, with attendees sampling the bar’s food and drink menus, as well as close-up magic from The Starman.

The raw figures on social media showed just how much pulling power an event like this can have:

Instagram stories on the night averaged more than 1,000 views per post

• More than 40 attendees uploaded their own stories with @AltoNottingham tagged

• Over the campaign, the follower numbers for Alto’s Instagram account more than doubled

• Across all social platforms, engagement was high thanks to interactive content and competitions, with more than 100,000 impressions on Facebook and Instagram

Events are always high pressured but the results show that with the right strategy, a creative team and little bit of star power, there’s no bad time to launch.


By Tom Snee

Tom has extensive experience in PR, having managed accounts for flagship clients and international brands. His multi-channel content creation skills give him the tools to deliver varied and insightful campaigns across many different sectors.