Changing the perceptions of a postcode

The Client

Cool Blue developed the narrative of George Wimpey’s Staiths South Bank site in Dunston, Gateshead. Planning and delivering a multi-layered two-year campaign.

The Brief

To create buying demand for innovative new homes in a socio-economically challenged location.

Communications Strategy

This campaign had to appeal to a whole new generation of potential buyers who were looking for a property they could afford that was also stylish and built on sustainable principles.

Selling this unique product in an area, which at the time was notorious for its many social challenges, required an ingenious campaign.

We took a bold move to contact design pundit Wayne Hemingway, who had been decrying George Wimpey in the national media, for the ‘wimpeyfication’ of Britain.

In light of his comments we invited him to collaborate on the design of the Staiths South Bank site to deliver designs that the developer could be proud of and which would set a new standard for all developers.

The audacious suggestion created massive amounts of positive media coverage and gained recognition for the development across the UK.

Campaign Content and Creation

The campaign theme of ‘design democracy’ was developed, referring to the low-cost high-design nature of the scheme, was applied to every aspect of the campaign.

We also invited local residents to be part of the campaign and the materials we produced.

This was a morale-booster for the local people and was another win for the client, creating yet more positive media coverage for the development and George Wimpey.

Over the life of the campaign we were responsible for delivering a constant stream of content and materials to keep stakeholders informed, and publicity rolling in.

Media Coverage

The unique nature of the scheme, and the relationship between house builder and designer Wayne Hemingway, gave us a consistent stream of media interest.

The strong environmental credentials for the site allowed us to create yet another first – bike tours for journalists and anyone in the community who wanted to have a better understanding of the green nature of the scheme. This created positive coverage both regionally and nationally.

Testimonial image

Welcome to Staiths from Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway

“The variation in house types, the thoughtful and abundant landscaping, the provision of play spaces and meeting areas sets Staiths South Bank apart from just about all other housing developments in the UK.”

Key Speaking Events

Wayne Hemingway acted as a key spokesperson. He was invited onto Newsnight where he discussed the scheme at length. He also appeared on several national broadcast channels and in virtually every quality newspaper in the country.

We looked for all relevant opportunities for Wayne and George Wimpey spokespeople to speak regionally and nationally.

Events surrounding National Architecture Week and design-based discussion groups at regional universities were attended.

We created a debate on the future of modern housing with the newly opened Urbis in Manchester, which readily pulled together an illustrious panel on which Wayne was a speaker. The event was recorded as part of National Architecture Week and broadcast on Radio 4’s Today programme.

Results

75%

of the advertising budget for the first phase was saved

PHASE 1 SOLD OUT

within two hours of release

£28 million

of coverage during the 18-month campaign

“Cool Blue has impressed me with its ability to think big and think
creatively, the team comes up with great fresh ideas, which is never easy, and then really delivers outstanding coverage regionally and nationally.”

Ronnie Baird,
Managing Director, George Wimpey, City Business Division

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