In 2005/6, Marsteller created a high-profile campaign to raise awareness of the risk of flooding among the five million people across England and Wales who live in flood risk areas.
“ Our advertising and direct mail campaign encouraged 118,000 people to sign up to the Environment Agency’s Floodline Warnings Direct service in just three months – more registrations than in the last ten years.”
Background The Environment Agency wanted to increase flood awareness in England and Wales through a hard-hitting integrated campaign The challenge Our task was to • raise awareness of flooding • drive the public to find out it they are at risk from flooding by calling Floodline, the Environment Agency’s dedicated flood information telephone service, or visiting the Environment Agency website • motivate people at risk to prepare in advance flooding • demonstrate the role of the Environment Agency in flood awareness The campaign We created a news story, supported by print and online advertising, which linked the fifth anniversary of the 2000 floods to Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans in August 2005.
In addition, we developed a comprehensive regional campaign toolkit, comprising press release, fact sheet, Q&A, stakeholder letter and copies of the adverts. This was distributed to Environment Agency regional campaign co-ordinators to enable them to roll-out the campaign at a regional level. This proved a highly successful strategy. An initial advertising campaign was created using imagery of the 2000 floods across England and Wales. The images used could, at a glance, appear to be from New Orleans. The adverts were designed to underpin the news story and provide a strong visual element to overall campaign. Eye-catching full-page adverts were placed in national and regional press over a two-week period. All adverts used regional photography making the imagery relevant for the target audience. The images also appeared on ad-vans that toured at-risk areas across England and Wales.
The second phase of the campaign (comprising print and radio advertising and direct mail), with the tagline ‘If only I’d seen it coming’ was launched in February 2006 to encourage people to sign up to the Floodline Warnings Direct service. Demonstrated results The campaign encouraged the public to take action to find out if they are at risk from flooding. On the October 2005 launch date, there were more than seventeen times the average number of calls to Floodline and seven times the average daily traffic to the website. More than 70,000 visitors logged on and there were over 40,000 Flood Map checks – the area of the website that allows you to identify areas at risk of flooding. Evaluation by Ipsos MORI of the PR and advertising campaign further demonstrate its effectiveness. Results from the survey showed that in total 43% had seen something about flooding either through the PR
campaign or via the adverts. Encouragingly, of those who recalled seeing the advertising, a majority (56%) stated that the Environment Agency was promoting the adverts, and a high proportion of those respondents (42%) said that the advertising promoted the need to be prepared for flooding. Of those who had seen the adverts almost a third (31%) spontaneously mentioned they had made some form of preparation in advance of flooding. The October 2005 campaign successfully managed to raise awareness of flooding among the public and this helped provide the foundation for the second step of the integrated campaign – recruitment to Floodline Warnings Direct. This campaign encouraged more than 118,000 people to sign up to the warning service in just three months – more registrations than the Environment Agency achieved in the last ten years. 1. Banner Ads 2. Direct Mail sent to 400,000 homes in flood risk areas 3. Phase one advertising campaign