The Powerboat & RIB show represents a completely fresh opportunity for the UK boating industry. The show’s concept is unlike any other marine orientated show, breaking the traditional format, the whole focus of this event is to take the show to the people. In the case of Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays, the permanent location of the Powerboat & RIB Show, this means that besides providing a genuinely worthwhile event for existing boating enthusiasts, the show and its sponsors benefit from the huge numbers of public visiting the site over the course of the three day show. Being the UK’s number one waterside retail and leisure complex, some nine million people visit Gunwharf Quays each year and over the course of the three days in late spring when the boat show is held, some 80,000 people are therefore in attendance. A ticket-free and open event, The Powerboat & RIB Show offers its high-quality visitorship a unique and unrestricted opportunity of experiencing what powerboating is truly all about. This is thanks largely to the special dispensations afforded the show by The Queen’s Harbour Master’s office who have created a means of allowing all event craft direct and efficient access to and from the open waters of the Solent. This results in The Powerboat & RIB Show being the only event in the UK that affords the public the genuine opportunity of getting out to sea aboard all of the craft exhibited within the show’s event marina. These boats range from high-performance, through to cabin cruisers, all-weather craft, high-end luxury vessels as well as entry level boats. Ashore, in every key zone of the Gunwharf Quays site, high-class exhibits and displays are carefully located to provide the visitor with the complete show experience. Benefiting from the superb amenities and attractions that Gunwharf Quays offer, whether it be waterside dining and drinking or shopping in the multitude of top name brand outlets, there is a huge amount to ensure that visitors to the show are given an unforgettable experience. Such was the success of the inaugural show in May 2012, that leading figures within the marine industry as well members of the press where quoted as saying that The Powerboat & RIB Show has the potential to rival the largest event of its kind anywhere in the UK. A show which has now already proved it has the power to effectively introduce the thrill of modern boating and watersports to a whole new audience as well as the wider media via television, radio, print and digital technology.
Powerboat & RIB Show 2012 PR Report.
Carswell Gould (CG) was appointed by the organisers of The Powerboat & RIB Show to use PR and social media to launch the new show and promote it regionally and nationally to ensure a high volume of visitors to the show throughout May 11 to 13.
Tactics and results
CG regularly distributed press releases to a wide range of media throughout the campaign. Media targeted included local, regional, national and trade online, print and broadcast.
The result was regular, sustained and positive coverage across a wide range of publications throughout the campaign.
Distribution of the releases resulted in over 80 pieces of coverage over the five month campaign with a total EEV (Estimated Editorial Value) of £362,220 and growing.
Examples of online, print and broadcast media where coverage was achieved included:
•All at Sea
•Motorboats & Yachting
•The Portsmouth News
•BBC Radio Solent H20 Show
*Powerboat & RIB Magazine
*All At Sea
•Wave 105 FM
•The Southern Daily Echo
CG negotiated a deal with Jack FM to be the radio partner for the show. The station was chosen due to its listener profile being on target with potential show visitors and its reach linking geographically to the show’s target audience - from Poole to the other side of Chichester.
The partnership resulted in heavy promotion of the show on the station, what’s on mentions, news bulletins and a slot on the show on the Saturday morning.
In addition, Jack FM’s attendance at the event gave exhibitors the chance to be interviewed live in Gunwharf Quays’ central square about their products.
CG targeted potential visitors via Twitter and Facebook.
As well as promoting the show to an online audience, it gave exhibitors the opportunity to promote their products and services to this growing community in advance of the show.
CG worked to develop strong relationships with key media such as The Portsmouth News and BBC Radio Solent’s H20 Show (marine focused).
This resulted in sustained coverage of the show throughout the campaign and also saw The Portsmouth News send reporters and photographers to the event throughout the weekend. In total, there were 17 stories within the Portsmouth News about the show. BBC Radio Solent’s H20 Show also ran a live broadcast from the show on the first evening, opening up potential visitors for the rest of the weekend.
•More than 70 pieces of media coverage about the show in the lead up to and during the event.
•75,700 visitors to the show venue over the three days, with just below 7000 people visiting the marina pontoons.
•Increase in size of social media communities and a wider platform to start from next year.
•Social media activity allowed exhibitors to promote their products to potential visitors ahead of the show.
•An increase in interaction from social media users regarding the show this year.
•Strong relationships forged with key media, resulting in a higher level of coverage and key contacts for next year.