In three months, the team at Absolute PR & Marketing firmly laid the foundations of my latest project Ocean Warrior, planted the flag pole and raised the flag for all to see. They were inventive, creative, proactive and consummately professional and the results speak for themselves. I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone.
Ocean Warrior Project
Campaign to raise awareness of the Ocean Warrior Project #Resolute Expedition among the public and sponsors. Our chief goal was to drive applicants for this crucial citizen science ocean expedition, sailing from Svalbard via Plymouth to Resolute Bay in Northern Canada
Media relations and social media
Print, broadcast and digital covering national, international, sailing, travel, regional, and marine/oceanographic
December 2022 - February 2023
The Ocean Warrior Project #Resolute Expedition is an expedition of international scientific significance, which aims to deliver the ‘holy grail of oceanography’, by understanding how much carbon is stored in our oceans and how this is impacting on acidification, pollution, and marine species. Ocean Warrior Project’s goal is to take 18 funded/paying individuals on each one of 8 legs (144 people in total) which make up the 10,000 nautical mile exploration. Together, they will help build a better understanding of the ocean’s tipping points through citizen science.
We were tasked with supporting explorer Jim McNeill in raising awareness of the Ocean Warrior Project and attracting potential candidates to join the #Resolute Expedition, sailing on SV Linden, Europe’s largest three-masted wooden schooner. Absolute was appointed to drive candidates to the Ocean Warrior website through media coverage, and to assist with Jim’s social media channels, advising on posts that would help secure sponsors and encourage others to engage with the Ocean Warrior story.
Right from the very start, we recognised that despite the importance of the Ocean Warrior Project, £5,400 for the cheapest leg, rising to £13,300 for the longest leg, would not be a sell to the media.
So, we delved deeper into Jim’s back story to find other angles. In so doing, we discovered that Jim had been brought up on a Council Estate in London and, in an extraordinary tale of grit and perseverance, had gone from being a scientist to having a career in the military, followed by a third successful career in commerce, which he gave up to become a London fire fighter. He then went on to work for the Royal Household at Windsor, before finally carving out a career as an internationally recognised explorer. With this, we knew we had something ‘extra’ to work with.
Taking this as the seed of a story, we persuaded Jim to make the expedition accessible to all, regardless of their financial background, by offering ten free places to individuals from unprivileged backgrounds – like his – reserving one free place for each region of the UK. We knew that this would grab the attention of news desks nationally and around the country, and would give the regional spread of candidates that Jim wanted.
Catapulting the story into the headlines, this drew attention not only to the free places, but to the paid-for places that were critical to the success of the expedition. It also highlighted that Jim’s training would equip all individuals with the skills to fundraise for their places, making the trip possible for all.
Using this hook, we generated international, national, regional, travel, and specialist marine versions of the press release, as well as variants aimed at solo travellers and the over 50s. We also developed tailored broadcast media pitches for the regions and national broadcast outlets.
Additionally, we advised Jim on his LinkedIn posts, angling to secure sponsorships and encourage others within exploration to resonate news about the Ocean Warrior Project.
What We Achieved
Absolute ran an active press office, distributing news stories nationally, and internationally and selling into our key contacts. This resulted in 400 pieces of coverage including articles in the Daily Mail, The Independent, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Canadian Globe and Mail, as well as pieces on Yahoo News, MSN News, 50-Connect, and in specialist titles including The Hydrographic Society, Ocean News, Sail World and Sail World Cruising. 15 interviews were set up with regional and national broadcast outlets including BBC Spotlight, ITV West Country, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC London Tonight, Channel 5 News, and Radio 5 Live.
We were also successful in helping to secure sponsorships for Ocean Warrior through guidance to Jim McNeill on his LinkedIn posts. Among the biggest wins in this respect was a sponsorship from Henri Lloyd, which will fund one applicant on one of two foundation expeditions taking place in September 2023. This also gave Jim access to Henri Lloyd’s database of over 1 million customers. Exploring the waters of the Islands of Svalbard, this foundation trip will gather oceanographic science data, and will test scientific equipment for the 2024 #Resolute Expedition. This leg will be reported on by the Financial Times and National Geographic.
Critically, our activity drove traffic to Ocean Warrior’s website, which was launched at the start of our campaign with no other form of promotion. Starting from zero visitors, over 10,000 unique visitors have now visited the website from across the world, using it to apply for selection.
As a direct result, 198 people registered an interest in places on the trip, and 100 applicants were subsequently selected to join the project, including paying participants from Canada, China and Sweden. Taking place in 2024, the Ocean Warrior Project #Resolute Expedition will also be eligible for grants based on the science taking place on board SV Linden, and will be repeated for the next 10 years to measure, benchmark, monitor and record change.