Media relations campaign

About Wales Air Ambulance

Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) is a charity that operates the UK’s largest air ambulance service.

Outwrite was tasked with maximising opportunities presented by the arrival of an additional, fourth, aircraft, to improve awareness among the public in Wales that WAA depends entirely on public donations to keep its aircraft flying.

Outwrite PR worked closely with WAA’s PR manager to devise and implement a media relations campaign, which ran from mid-June to mid-September 2016.

 

Objectives and planning

Outwrite set out to:

 

  • Achieve bi-lingual coverage in:
  • Broadcast media: ITV Wales and BBC Wales; BBC radio and independent radio
  • Print media across four regions covering WAA’s bases: Cardiff; Llanelli; Welshpool and Caernarfon
  • Rural communities, where the benefits of air rather than road ambulance are perceived as greatest
  • Widen the base of WAA journalistic contacts by adding a minimum of six new titles/outlets that have not knowingly covered WAA previously

Numbers and figures

Pieces of coverage

%

Media coverage with key messages

Major TV and radio broadcasts

Implementation

We interviewed six key WAA personnel, including the chief executive, two regional heads of fundraising, the head of PR, and one trustee, to find out what they knew about the understanding of the purpose and set-up of WAA among the supporters and prospects they had regular contact with.

While we referenced a core list of six questions, we also gathered anecdotes from each interviewee of people’s perceptions.

We also interviewed six of our good journalistic contacts: 2 broadcast and 4 print/online, to find out what they knew about the WAA.

This allowed us to set an informal baseline for levels of knowledge about key WAA messages, in the absence of any funding for external opinion-polling for campaign measurement purposes.

We learned:

  • Many knew WAA is a charity
  • No one understood its relationship with NHS Wales
  • Few were aware WAA didn’t receive government funds

Target audience

  • The general public in Wales, from whom the vast majority of WAA income is raised
  • Note: within this primary audience, it was acknowledged that we would reach and educate some politicians/influencers/opinion-formers and prospective corporate donors, as a by-product

Outcome/client testimonial

Outwrite achieved coverage on:

  • ITV Wales, packages on 4 July; 9 August
  • BBC Wales, 2 August: bi-lingual, bi-media: news bulletins throughout the day, and radio/tv packages for breakfast, lunchtime and evening programmes: a total of 8 different broadcasts of packages, excluding mentions in news bulletins, over 24 hours.
  • Also: S4C Heno; Heart FM; UCB (United Christian Broadcasters digital stations UK-wide)
  • 32 pieces of print coverage
  • 31 items of online content
  • Some of these pieces were extensive eg page leads or full-page features with multiple photos; incorporating interviews with the pilot and paramedic as well as reporters’ first-hand accounts of the flight;
  • Many of the online items included video.
  • Each of the three phases received coverage. All of the SMART objectives were exceeded.
  • A number of key messages were carried in 100 per cent of coverage.

Angela Hughes, CEO of Wales Air Ambulance said:

“Outwrite’s team keeps on top of issues in the wider Welsh NHS and political arena, which means they give us timely and appropriate advice.

“Their knowledge of the Welsh media, and what makes a good news story, means every campaign they have carried out has achieved coverage beyond our expectations.  Their relationship with our in-house PR team is close and supportive.  They’re really helping Wales Air Ambulance to stay in front of mind with the media, the public and our other stakeholders.”

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