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intu Victoria Centre: The butterfly project

A campaign to relaunch the Emett Clock at intu Victoria Centre.

up to 74% increase in sales
8.3% increase in footfall
91% positive sentiment

Background

Nottingham’s intu Victoria Centre underwent a £42m remodelling programme during 2014-15 during which time the city’s iconic Emett Clock was removed from the centre – where it has been sited since 1972.

This created significant negative media attention including protests, online petitions and numerous complaints to the centre both in 2013 when it was announced that the clock would be removed and then again when it was removed in February 2014.

It was essential that its return to the centre after its remodelling was managed sensitively – especially as it was to be moved from its previous location at South Square to a new home on the upper mall. During its 18 months away from the centre, the team at intu and the Rowland Emett Society (the clock’s creator) worked tirelessly to clean and repair the clock to have it looking as good as new – it had fallen into disrepair. Cartwright was instructed within its ongoing retained contract with intu to devise a creative PR campaign to relaunch the Emett Clock at the centre, creating a buzz and positive coverage.

Approach

We devised a six-week PR plan to promote the Emett Clock’s return to the centre and engage with local children, informed by our knowledge of the negativity surrounding the removal of the clock from the centre.

Our plan included:

  • Creation of a giant hanging mobile made up of 4,000 butterflies, hand painted by local schools, children at a local hospital, through workshops hosted at the centre and by intu staff • Schools competition with the winning design replicated within a permanent plaque on the clock
  • Identified When You Wish Upon A Star as the charity which would receive donations from the clock’s pool for 12 months
  • Media and VIP launch event
  • Celebration cupcakes and special seating area for shoppers

Results

This award-winning campaign was a huge success, turning a potential media crisis into a triumph for the shopping centre.

Our media coverage target was doubled – and every single piece was positive about the clock’s return – and customers surveyed on the day were happy to see the clock in its new location, with 39% making a special trip to see it. Retailers also saw increases in sales figures of up to 74% compared with the previous week.

During the initial six-month period after the clock returned, footfall to that area of the centre increased by 8.3% – and the Emett Clock raised £5,000 for charity in the first year.

  • 74% increase in sales for some retailers
  • 8.3% footfall increase in six months
  • 91% positive / neutral sentiment on social media

"Their creative ideas and PR skill turned a potential PR crisis into a positive story that exceeded our targets and built a PR legacy for the centre. "

Kath Scott, marketing communications coordinator

intu

Retail & Leisure

Cartwright Communications was asked to deliver a creative PR campaign aimed at creating a buzz around the long-awaited return of the Emett Clock to intu Victoria Centre, owing to the team’s expertise in the retail and leisure sector.

Crisis Communications

Crisis communications is the management and protection of the reputation of an individual, organisation or brand during a negative situation, event or story.

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