Winners 2017

Best communications by a public sector organisation

The Big Bang Experiments
Agency: Hope&Glory PR

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair is the country’s biggest celebration of science and engineering careers. Held at Birmingham’s NEC every March, the Fair’s ambition is to inspire a new generation of young people to take up science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related qualifications.

Hope&Glory had to devise a PR campaign that would engage young people in the run up to the Fair, raising awareness and driving registrations, that would demonstrate the exciting and entertaining roles science and engineering can offer.

Treating Big Bang Fair as a brand rather than an event, Hope&Glory used science and engineering as tools to create ‘talkable’ campaigns that would generate conversations on social channels, in traditional media and the education press.

To kick off, Hope&Glory launched Back to the Future, a campaign that asked leading scientists which features from four leading films might become a reality in a child’s lifetime. They answered that invisibility cloaks could be available in 2030, teleportation by 2080 and time travel by 2100.

With Hollywood designer Andrew Ainsworth, who created Stormtroopers, as spokesman, the campaign delivered more than 80 radio interviews and 120 items of coverage.

Drawing on the popularity of the sustainable food movement, the next campaign focused on what new treats might be around for future Christmases – Mince Flies, pastries containing mealworm and grasshopper toppings, was the answer. The delicacies were even trialled at London’s fashionable Borough Market.

Bringing engineering skills to life, Hope&Glory worked with engineer Morwenna Williams, great-great-granddaughter of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to create the first Origami paper boat that would carry a human passenger. Its maiden voyage, on a lake in South London, generated more than 200 items of coverage.

Working with YouTuber Oli White, a Londoner who creates quirky comedy videos and has almost 1.8 million subscribers, Hope&Glory attempted to engage with his female teenage followers, a difficult audience to reach for the Fair, by scripting a film Celebrity Shoot Out. The film sees White receive items to build an air vortex cannon, and then use it at a firing range of celebrity pictures.

Almost 370,000 people watched the video, prompting more than 19,000 ‘Likes’ and nearly 2,500 click throughs to the Big Bang Fair website.

The final experiment was one that children could create at home. Using common household elements, such as copper sulphate, Oxford University’s Dr Prabhakaran Dharmalingam developed perfect replicas of the Imperial State Crown and the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring.

The five experiments generated 2,202 pieces of coverage, up 37 per cent on the previous year, for the Fair, of which 65 per cent carried details about the event. Coverage reached 90 per cent of the target core demographic of under 18 year olds, 89 per cent of all parents and 90 per cent of teachers. Against a target of 65,000 visitors, almost 70,000 people attended the Fair and 85 per cent of 11 to 14 year old attendees said they had learned a lot.

‘This was an outstanding campaign in every respect,’ said the judges. ‘It was exceptionally creative and innovative, achieving cut through to all key audiences and surpassing its objectives.’