Best communications by a not-for-profit organisation 2014 Article icon

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The Big Bang Young Scientists and Engineers Fair 2014

Agency: Hope&Glory

The Big Bang Fair is an annual event that aims to get young people, aged between 11 and 14, engaged with and excited about science, technology, engineering and maths, and hopefully pursue careers involving these skills..

With this year’s event taking place in Birmingham in March, Hope&Glory adopted an approach that was about more than raising awareness of the event, thereby driving registrations, but instead about establishing Big Bang as a brand.

The Big Bang Science & Engineering Experiments were created to engage young people and their parents in the three months prior to the event. The first stage took place in December, with the creation of the world’s first Christmas tree powered by Brussels sprouts.

The Sprout Battery, which was made from 1,000 of the vegetables, powered 100 lights, which featured on a Christmas tree on London’s Southbank. The initiative generated more than 300 pieces of media coverage, including items on Have I Got News For You and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.

More than 4,000 tweets about the Brussels Sprout Christmas Tree were sent, reaching in excess of 9.2 million followers.

The YouTube Science Experiment involved 19 year old Oli White, who creates quirky comedy videos for YouTube and has more than 470,000 subscribers, including many teenage girls, a key audience for Big Bang.

White’s live video experiment, Pop Stars singing on Helium, has since been viewed more than 176,000 times, and according to official YouTube data has reached more than 136,000 girls aged between 11 and 15. The video also prompted more than 1,000 click throughs to The Bang Fair website, via a bit.ly link.

The final experiment involved bacteriographer Zach Copfer, who created portraits of five celebrities, including Stephen Fry and Carol Vorderman, from a swab of their bacteria, which were then multiplied in a Petri dish. The ultimate ‘Cell-fies’ generated almost 480 items of media coverage, including Guardian Online and National Geographic Kids, about 1,100 tweets and 73,251 visits to the fair’s website.

All media coverage for the campaign was positive, as analysed by Metrica, but more importantly it reached 85 per cent of the fair’s core demographic of under 18 year olds 19 times, and 86 per cent of parents 16 times.

More than 227,000 people visited the campaign’s website as a result of the experiments, and the fair was oversubscribed. More than 75,000 visitors attended, making it the most successful event to date.

The judges said the ‘multi-channel’ campaign showed ‘real creativity and engagement’ and ‘achieved its objectives, that were clearly outlined’. ‘The Brussels Sprouts Christmas Tree was a real stand out,’ said one, while another added: ‘I just loved the bacteria Cell-fies.’