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Weeping Window

Almost 130,000 visitors from Northern Ireland and many from further afield flocked to the Ulster Museum in autumn 2017 to see the stunning famous Poppies: Weeping Window exhibition.

With no paid for advertising used in the marketing campaign it was up to PR and social media activity to help spread the word about this fantastic exhibition and encourage visitors to come and see it, and JComms was tasked with managing both.

Weeping Window was so significant because it was one of the sculptures taken from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – an original concept by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London in 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every life lost at the Front during the First World War.

Our work began many months in advance of the October launch as communications were a key part of the planning process for such a major event.

It was important with several partner organisations involved, including 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and Belfast International Arts Festival, that communications strategies were agreed by all.

Young people taking photos of the Weeping Windon at Belfast's Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland

Key to both our PR and digital media campaign were striking images and our photographers at Press Eye certainly made sure that photos taken both at day and night were exceptional and used extremely widely by the media. They also received excellent engagement when used on the Ulster Museum’s social media accounts.

Briefing key media outlets on the significance of this exhibition ahead of the launch was key to driving strong coverage and resulted in an excellent attendance of media and bloggers at the launch.

Those attending included journalists and camera crews from BBC Northern Ireland, UTV and RTE, ensuring positive prime time coverage for the exhibition.

Other coverage highlights included:

  • The Belfast Telegraph, The Irish News and News Letter attended the launch ensuring high profile coverage online and in paper ahead of the opening day
  • RTE’s Northern correspondent and the Northern Ireland correspondent of The Sun newspaper attended our media launch resulting in Ireland-wide coverage
  • The Irish Times carried the image taken by Press Eye as one of its Images of the Week
  • All key radio stations including BBC, U105, and Downtown/Cool FM carried the story in their bulletins on the day of the media launch and the following day, with several using the audio clips JComms had recorded and distributed.
  • JComms also set up live interviews with Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art at National Museums NI and Nigel Hinds of 14-18 NOW with BBC Good Morning Ulster
  • BBC Arts Show used footage provided to produce a short video with voiceover by poet Michael Longley
  • A short video produced by JComms was used by online by Belfast Telegraph and Belfast Live as well as on Ulster Museum’s social media channels, receiving excellent engagement.

Maximising visitor numbers was obviously the key objective of our work and this was achieved with 25,000 visiting in the first 10 days and a total of over 129,000 seeing the sculpture in the six week period it was installed at the Ulster Museum.

Other achievements included:

  • Almost 100 pieces of positive news media coverage
  • Total circulation for print coverage was over 1.4m while online circulation was estimated at over 11m
  • Broadcast Opportunity to see (OTS) coverage was over 1.4m
  • Ulster Museum Twitter followers increased by over 900 to almost 20,500 while Facebook followers have increased by over 1,300. A total number of 160,000 organic impressions alone were recorded on the day of the launch on Facebook.
  • Video content was a tremendous success with the Ulster Museum Facebook page. In total, 9 videos were posted to the Ulster Museum page throughout the duration of the campaign. In total, these videos gained a total amount of 205,612 impressions with 48,543 views.
Weeping Window

Weeping Window

PR photo of the Weeping Window at the Ulster Museum at night

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