Forging Positivity: changing the perception of a sculpture through an innovative campaign

Commissioned by the Theatre Royal Plymouth as part of their £7.5 million regeneration project, which saw the theatre reopened in 2013, Messenger is a the largest bronze sculpture in the UK and was installed in front of the Theatre Royal Plymouth on March 18th 2019.

 

Following a negative reception of the sculpture locally, we were brought in to generate positive press coverage for the monumental sculpture to change hearts and minds, both in Plymouth and nationally, presenting the sculpture as a monument to the power of creativity and a positive part of the regeneration of Plymouth.

The Work

Our strategy included branding Messenger the largest bronze sculpture in the UK. This generated news coverage, creating positive comparisons between Messenger and Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North, creating a diversity message around the sculpture as a strong dynamic woman and the importance of the representation of women in public. It also started creating excitement around the sheer scale of the sculpture.

Our campaign tactics included organising a press trip to the foundry where Messenger was being forged. We released exclusive photos of the process to announce the sculpture’s new name and installation dates in November. This generated blanket news coverage five months ahead of installation, including the Today Programme, two Front Row interviews, a double page spread in the Guardian, an Evening Standard cartoon, inclusion on BBC Radio 4’s Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, and even appearing in The Times newspaper’s Easter Quiz.

For Messenger’s triumphant arrival into Plymouth, we organised a press boat that would shadow the statues voyage, orchestrating live broadcasts for BBC Breakfast, ITV: Good Morning Britain, Sky News, BBC Spotlight and ITV: South West as well as photographers from Reuters, Getty and PA leading to blanket newspaper coverage the next day.

The Results

 

  • 590 pieces of coverage
  • Audience reach of 63.52million
  • Over 154.85 million page impressions