Fire & Ice InDurham
When Durham BID needed support in marketing its annual ice festival, Fire&Ice InDurham, to attract people into the City and in turn support businesses on the high street through an integrated campaign, they came to us.
Fire&Ice InDurham is an annual festival organised by Durham Business Improvement District during the final weekend of the February half term holiday. The objective of the event is to support local businesses, by giving consumers a reason to come into Durham, enjoy time in the City and ultimately spend money with the businesses there on the highstreet.
Each year, the festival features an ice sculpture trail of 10 different installations across the City, lit by flaming beacons. In addition to the installations, there are also interactive ice sculptures such as a chocolate block, whereby people have to try to melt the ice to release a sweet treat, live ice carving demonstrations, the chance to give the artform a go under the watchful eye of the professionals from Glacial Art, who worked on the set of the hit TV series Game of Thrones, with the days’ events wrapping up in a grand finale of dancing water jets and shooting flames in the Market Place.
The theme of Fire&Ice InDurham changes each year, with previous iterations including Polar Exploration, Myths & Legends and Literary Characters. In 2019, the event was set to return to the City with the theme of Heroes & Villains, and we were tasked with marketing the event, to attract a record-number of people to the festival.
With a core demographic of people living locally to the City or those residing within two hours’ travel time of Durham, our strategy was to take a geo-targeted approach, utilising the full PESO spectrum of paid, earned, shared and owned content.
A family-friendly event with mass appeal to people who are looking to keep the kids entertained during the latter end of the half term holiday, we developed a suit of messaging that would appeal to these audience personas, to be implemented across all marketing communication collateral.
We designed and delivered against an integrated campaign, which included regular media communications and press releases, exclusive media partnerships with key channels including BBC Newcastle, paid-for advertising packages in local press in print and online, social media, sponsored content, targeted online ads, content creation for the Durham BID website, as well as promotional collateral for on-the-day in the form of trail maps and programmes of events.
In addition to this, we were in the City on both days of the festival to oversee press previews, all media interviews, manage live social media across Durham BID’s channels, and support the festival delivery team.
Following extensive media coverage in local, regional and national publications across print, online and broadcast, as well as record-breaking hits to the Durham BID website and significant spikes in engagement across social media channels, the number of people attending Fire&Ice InDurham was impressive.
Stats showed that compared to the event in 2018, footfall was up by 2%, and compared to the same weekend in previous years, the weekend of Fire&Ice InDurham 2019 was the busiest on record. In terms of footfall comparisons, the event was just over 1% behind 2018’s iteration of Lumiere – a national light festival which attracts millions of people from all over the UK to Durham City – and was considerably busier that the last Durham Miner’s Gala weekend.
What’s more, several businesses reported their busiest trading day ever, with queues spilling out of bars and restaurants onto the streets, and many shops saying that they actually sold out of certain product lines during the weekend of Fire&Ice InDurham.
Picture credit: Durham BIDBack to Work