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Acrobatics at Abbey Wood

Last autumn Hermes Real Estate asked us to help re-launch the recently refurbished Abbey Wood Shopping Park in Filton, Bristol.

The challenge – to devise and rollout a marketing strategy in two phases; an initial soft launch to ensure the first phase of retailers had a successful first few months in the lead up to Christmas followed by a grand opening in the spring to mark the completion of this major £10 million refurbishment and extension project.

The vision for the park was not just to make an out-of-town shopping park look more attractive but to create a new food and shopping destination for the Filton community.

The audience was within a relatively small geographical area but with varying interests so the campaign was split to directly address local residents, businesses and students at the neighbouring UWE Frenchay Campus.

To capitalise on the Christmas social and shopping frenzy, the soft launch highlighted the presence of new national brands, particularly the restaurants. By adapting the messages and identifying the best communications tools, we were able to directly communicate with each audience group. We integrated a mix of marketing channels including railway station advertising, flyers, posters, e-mail campaigns, web advertising and media relations.

We then worked closely with national marketing and local store managers to create a Grand Opening Day with a festival atmosphere.

The restaurants and cafes carried out food tastings and cookery demonstrations, stores held competitions, in-store events and offered special discounts and all brands offered a prize for a Grand competition so we were able to capture data.

We commissioned Bristol-based circus connoisseurs, Cirque Bijou, to create an opening performance to provide a strong photo opportunity for the press and a memorable attraction for the community which was complemented by roaming street performers.

In addition to the public-facing events we organised an opening reception hosted by Hermes Real Estate to give an opportunity to thanks the retailers and project team and promote the park to potential future tenants.

The opening reception was attended by more than 60 industry professionals and the launch achieved media coverage in all the target local press. All of the park’s retailers are reporting sales well over budgeted expectations thanks to increased footfall to the site.

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