Aha! What #AngliaSquare NotLeicesterSquare taught us

Steve Coogan attended the world premiere in Norwich as Alan Partridge.

Steve Coogan attended the world premiere in Norwich as Alan Partridge.

The foundation of this campaign has always been the amount of national and even international coverage it's going to get, not only for the film, but for Norwich itself.

The Alan Partridge film premier at the Hollywood Cinema where fans and the press turned out in force

The Alan Partridge film premier at the Hollywood Cinema where fans and the press turned out in force to welcome the star. Rob Wilkes and Rafiq Turnbull celebrate after their Facebook campaign brought the premier to Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

So how did it all start? Over burgers on Father's Day is the official line, but the idea had been kicking around in my head for a few weeks prior to mentioning it to Rafiq.

The Facebook page and Twitter account was set up on the following Wednesday night, and by Friday Facebook had reached nearly 2,000 likes (it went on to reach close to 8,000 and at its height had a total reach of over 168,000).

Things took off so quickly, the coverage we got from that launch day allowed us to reach a wider audience, and then we could really start to engage with people and have some fun.

Fun was the key element of our campaign strategy, it had to be really, what with the nature of the film.


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Every idea we came up with had to contain an element of fun, from competitions asking people to share a video of themselves shouting Dan in public in order to win premiere tickets, through to something quirky that would ignite conversation and encourage social engagement. Sometimes it might have been a small thing, something that planted a seed in people's heads, other times it was more complex.

A good example of this was the 'Partridge State of Mind' performance by Laura Morrell alongside a 30 piece flash mob choir outside HMV. A great example of how being reactive with your audience can lead to unknown paths and fantastic results both on and offline, something the campaign was great at doing.

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It was suggested that we needed a theme song, so we posted a call out for suggestions, partly thinking we could adopt an existing song.

Laura took it upon herself to rewrite the lyrics to the Alicia Keys song A New York State of Mind, but with a completely Norwich inspired Partridge twist which she posted on YouTube.

That video alone has over 3,851 views and via our page reached 6,568 people. As soon as we heard it we knew we'd found our theme tune and we quickly started thinking about how we could use it to generate content and interaction via our social channels and coverage from the local press, radio and tv.

The video we created of the day with the Norwich based C>Media reached 7,208 people via Facebook and received 3,061 views on YouTube and made the ITV Anglia News that evening.

This reactive approach worked really well for us with the campaign. Once things got to a certain level size-wise it began to go organic - things were happening that we had not set up - but this allowed us to embrace them, and bolster our campaign in clever ways.

Lots of things seemed to fall into place at the right time, and because we were mobile we could cover things instantly, direct from our phones, and have it online in a matter of seconds.

Something which was created in more of a traditional studio environment was the branding.

The main image was created for us by a freelance illustrator named Steve Piantoni and our official campaign photographer has been Rob Dodsworth who's also done a sterling job for us.

The design has worked really well, and we implemented it across our brand both on and offline, creating merchandise such as car stickers, posters, badges and even a range of campaign T-shirts.

The merchandise was also part of the strategy, obviously we wanted it to look great and for people to want it, but it also served as another technique for creating content to share online - not only could we post about it in the first instance, but our audience could too, tagging themselves in pics wearing the tees, or posters they spotted in windows, all of this was a great way to spread the word virally.

Even Simon Greenall who plays Michael in the film got involved, initially posting a pic of himself in Anglia Square, and later again proudly wearing one of our campaign shirts while holding a mug of baked beans with a sausage as a spoon. That kind of celebrity engagement was great, and is another example of how the organic effect took hold.

The proof has certainly been in the pudding and the results are still happening now. I've met with journalists from The Guardian and The Independent, giving them an insiders' tour of Norwich – I took them to all my favourite spots – coffee shops, cafes, boutique clothing stores and great pubs, of which we have many to shout about. It was great fun and another sign of how this has been a good thing for Norwich.

Visit Norwich got in touch at the height of the campaign to say enquiries from people wanting to come here had increased heavily since the campaign took off - we love that, it's great to see the city and the county benefitting.

The whole year so far has been really great for us, but the summer will be a highlight certainly. It's been a great networking opportunity, although that was never the plan - I just thought the premiere should be in Norwich. But you can't ignore the benefits that have sprung up from this. I've been interested in, and involved with, social media for a number of years now and this seemed like an ideal time to launch our new arm to the business - Social Giant. We now offer a consultancy service based around social media and content.

What's been evident throughout the campaign is the benefit of coverage both locally and nationally. Initially I received lots of questions about whether what I was doing was a good thing for Norwich.

Yes, maybe we worried a few people at first, but they were certainly a minority, and general feedback was that it was a good thing, we certainly feel that Norwich is proud enough to stand tall.

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