Google Streetview Awards

our national campaign delivers coverage worth £1.4Million

Objective/Brief

Google launched their revolutionary Street View tool in 2009 with an initial roll-out covering 25 key cities within the UK. Although the launch was considered a great success, the initiative was also the subject of negative media coverage and public concern over privacy issues.

The second stage roll-out for Street View, which would see most of the UK covered by the application, was scheduled to launch early in 2010. Google briefed Taylor Herring to devise a campaign which would precede the roll-out helping to offset any negative publicity whilst clearly highlighting the benefits and uses of the Street View tool. The campaign needed to reassure the public on the planned expansion whilst highlighting the positive aspects of Street View to local communities and businesses. PR activity was required to reach out to a wide range of media with an initial focus on the key regions skewing to a broader, national press focus prior to launch.

The idea

The inaugural Google Street View Awards - a nationwide PR campaign designed to celebrate Britain’s Best Streets. The awards would span three different categories each specifically designed to highlight the positive effects of Street View on local businesses:

• Britain’s Most Picturesque Street
• Britain’s Best Foodie Street
• Britain’s Best Fashion Street

A panel of experts in each field provided the initial nominations for each category, each expert nominating one street for each of the ten British regions. The shortlist was then put to a national vote via a specially built Google micro site. Local business case studies were sought for each nominated street and used widely in pre-publicity. Following a three week voting period the poll would close and the winning streets would be crowned ‘Britain’s Best Streets’.

The Google Street View Awards campaign took ten weeks to plan and execute which included a three week voting period.

Execution

Stage 1 – Getting Our Streets in a Row
The Taylor Herring team researched a comprehensive list of panellist suggestions for each category ranging in scope from journalists to chefs and fashion designers. Five experts were subsequently chosen for each award, including fashion designer Jeff Banks, Glamour Editor Jo Elvin, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, the Lonely Planet editorial team and Nicholas Lander - the Restaurant Correspondent at The Financial Times.

The team also worked with Google’s in house team to build a partnership with VisitBritain to oversee and interrogate the short listed nominations helping us to arrive at the final shortlist of 50 streets; 20 in Best Foodie, 20 in Best Fashion and 10 in Most Picturesque. Taylor Herring also worked with Google to develop a dedicated micro-site for the awards which would play host to the national poll.

Stage 2 – Launch of the ‘Google Street View Awards’
The Google Street View Awards were launched via a national and regional news release in February 2010. To maximise interest from local media, bespoke press releases were prepared for each of the ten regions, and local spokespeople were sourced to provide quotes to accompany print and broadcast features. The team secured over 60 local business owners as brand ambassadors, many of whom were happy to act as spokespeople for their nominated streets.

Regional tourist boards and local councils were approached in order to engage with local communities and maximise awareness of the voting mechanic. We worked closely with over 40 organisations to ensure that their local areas were well informed of the campaign.

Bespoke information packs for each category were created which included a nominee window sticker, information on Street View and the award categories. These packs were sent to every single inhabited address on each of the 50 nominated streets and the window stickers were prominently displayed by numerous businesses in the nominated streets.

A radio day with Ed Parsons from Google was scheduled a week following the launch announcement to drive a second wave of voting. Ed was interviewed by 16 radio stations, talking in-depth about the awards and mentioning the voting URL - driving traffic to the site.

The PR team targeted and gained coverage on a huge array of neighbourhood web sites and worked with Time Out to ensure they were posting tweets about the awards reaching 6,000 followers. VisitBritain also tweeted about the awards to their 7,820 followers. This sparked a mass discussion on Twitter with residents and local businesses on nominated streets all getting involved.

Stage 3 – Streets Ahead – Announcing the Winners

Voting for the awards closed on Sunday 28th February. The votes were tallied and a series of press releases were drafted to announce the winning streets (1 x national, 3 x regional).

Ahead of the winner’s announcement, we worked with The Mirror to run a positive double page, picture led feature on Friday 5th March, featuring the nominated streets and using images from Street View. We also worked with The Sunday Times Home to secure a nominations feature. The national winners release was provided to national press contacts leading on ‘The Most Picturesque’ category while regional releases were penned for each of the three winning streets and sold in separately. The results were confirmed with local businesses and media in each winning area two days before the announcement allowing us to secure key support for the local photo calls when the results were announced. The agency also approached local councils to secure a Mayoral appearance at each regional photo-call.
The winners’ announcement coincided with our three regional photo calls on Monday 8th March. Every photo call featured local business workers/owners and the local Major alongside a Google Street View representative.

Results…

Launch highlights included a DPS in the Mirror and news pieces in Metro, The Scottish Sun, The Sunday Times and The Independent. Regional coverage was similarly impressive with 73 articles from key titles ranging from Wales on Sunday to The Liverpool Echo and The Manchester Evening News. Broadcast highlights included TV news mentions on BBC Look North, BBC North east and ITV Central News while numerous radio stations also carried the launch announcement ranging in scope from BBC Newcastle to Smooth Radio and Sky News Radio. Numerous local business case studies were supplied for broadcast interviews and 117 websites covered the announcement - 95% including a direct link to voting page. A week following the launch, Google’s Geospatial Technologist, Ed Parsons completed a radio day speaking to sixteen major BBC and commercial stations, all giving full credit to the Google Street View Awards and mentioning the voting URL. Stations included BBC Radio Scotland, BRMB, Radio Norwich and Star Cambridge.

In total Google received over 11,000 votes from the public for their inaugural Street View Awards within the three week campaign period.

The winners’ announcement achieved page leads in The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, with further coverage running in The Sun, The Independent and Metro. Numerous radio stations talked up the results including BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast show, while TV highlights included Sky News and a three minute ‘and finally’ piece on the BBC’s 6 O’clock News. Regional coverage was also impressive with numerous front page leads. A host of high-profile websites including Mail Online, Huffington Post and BBC News reported on the story.

The Google Street View Awards campaign achieved coverage in 15 national print titles, 85 regional titles, 60 regional radio stations, 4 national broadcast stations and 251 online targets. An independent evaluation from Panarc found the CORE value (cost of reach equation) to be £474,712 with over 82 Million weighted opportunities to see the coverage (WOTS). AVE for the campaign was over £1.4 Million – a return on investment of 40-1. Furthermore, 99.8% of all coverage was positive in tone.

The agency covered a huge amount of ground in the campaign from brokering media partnerships to securing over 60 local businesses as brand ambassadors. By building relationships with local media and businesses from the nomination announcement through to the winner’s announcement, we were able to engage with local communities throughout the campaign period. The tone of all the press coverage was overwhelmingly positive and ‘celebratory’ in nature. The launch of the Awards has provided a highly PR’able property with possibilities to roll-out annually while the case studies we secured were used extensively to support the Street View roll-out PR campaign which followed the awards.