After 10 weeks of lockdown it seems everything was geared to marketing during the crisis. Many business were forced to close their doors and run solely online.
Nick Price Creatives were at the forefront of this incredibly fast moving change and rose to the challenges and opportunities we were confronted with – just because a venue is closed, why stop the marketing of it? Everyone turned to online and we were able to capture a whole new customer base looking for something to do – in an incredibly competitive and intense online period.
With a number of the measures being lifted and shops now planning to reopen from June 15th, we can start look forward to the good old days – and marketing without a single reference to the pandemic!
Albeit, two metres apart, perspex shields at tills and a whole host of neccessary changes, the good old days aren’t quite back – but we look forward to the next challenges.
It was Friday March 20th with Prime Minister, Boris Johnson advising the population to avoid pubs and restaurants and that they would shut that evening. Whilst there is no good time to do this, the Sunday was Mother’s Day – a last hurrah and superb annual boost for high street retailers, shops, pubs and restaurants. Monday 23rd March witnessed the sombre Johnson speech that announced all non-essential shops would close. Whilst retailers understood the need to do this, they were devastated. The future was very dark indeed.
The dark skies were gathering and as a forward thinking Marketing company, we had to act quickly to inform the public the changes, for one company – Heart of the Shires, it meant the start of a whole Corona Virus campaign of daily updates, daily interaction with the public and daily, continual advertising of a location that was closed to the public – we said ‘a little bit broken’ and with everyone’s help we could, somehow look to the future and fix it.
Rupert Pearse, Intensive Care Doctor, Royal London Hospital: “The good news is we’ve coped, um, but only just. In fact, at one point it was very close. And, as NHS staff, I think we are just a little bit broken.” CORONAVIRUS – STORIES FROM BEHIND THE MASK Radio 4
Broadcast 12th May, 2020
Our first post was on March 19th – we were aware of the political climate and instead of the doom and gloom the media and everyone else seemed to develop Nick Price Creatives, with Heart of the Shires, again as it’s important to mention – would be closed, was one of the very first companies to focus on the good news – and at the start it WAS really tough finding some. We altered the heart logo of Heart of the Shires to be ‘heart broken,’ showed the dark clouds gathering yet included a rainbow. Again back in March 19th Nick Price Creatives were one of the very first to adopt the rainbow – something that would become so fitting for the crisis, yet at the time we used it, it was more known for Gay Pride.
The only challenge I set myself during COVID-19: Self-Love. “Being a little bit broken, doesn’t make you any less entitled to be treated correctly.” Millie Jones, May 15th
Here’s our initial, opening copy, in full:
In a time where everything seems so, so bad, there are glimpses of happiness and hope. There are so many people offering to help others, help to our key workers, neighbours and even strangers. These acts of kindness aren’t being reported much so we plan to scour the world for good news stories and share them on here – feel free to raise a smile and share.
Good News Today:
• China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them. Today, China reported no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began three months ago, reaching a milestone in its battle with the deadly outbreak that has upended daily life and economic activity around the world.
• Doctors in India have been successful in treating Coronavirus. Combination of drugs used: Lopinavir, Retonovir, Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine. They are going to suggest same medicine, globally.
• A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.
• Apple reopens all 42 china stores.
• Cleveland Clinic developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in hours, not days.
• Today (19th March) Students in Guizhou province, south-west China, are returning to school after more than a month off.
“It’s also this period of reflection which has led me to question whether there’s actually something a little bit broken about modern urban life, and it turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks so.”
Teo van den Broeke, GQ Magazine 26 May 2020
Phew – what had we started?
March 23rd saw the venue close it’s doors and along with the new graphics we posted a defiant statement with the reassurance of we’ll be here now, throughout the crisis and after.
We have to admit we are feeling a little bit broken, we’ve altered our logo accordingly and it’ll remain like this until the whole Corona virus crisis is over. Nobody, at present, can tell how long that will be. UPDATE: March 23rd. The Heart of the Shires is now closed. We look forward to welcoming you all back when we are allowed to reopen again. Stay safe everyone. Whatever happens, this platform will continue to run offering the latest news about us and our retailers. In a time where everything seems so, so bad, there are glimpses of happiness and hope. There are so many people offering to help others, help to our key workers, neighbours and even strangers. These acts of kindness aren’t being reported much so we plan to scour the world for good news stories. We’ll post them on here, feel free to share the good and together we’ll overcome the bad.
Thank you for your continued support.
Heart of the Shires #chasetherainbow
“The Silent High Street – has COVID-19 broken our high streets?” Retail Times, 14/5/2020
The following days, weeks and months we posted good news EVERY SINGLE DAY: Saturday’s, Sunday’s, Bank Holiday’s, Easter Sunday – every day, without fail – new uplifting stories and from social media comments people were reacting in a positive way, such as Daisy Hampshire; “Love your updates! Keep safe guys during this very surreal time!”
We found Captain Tom and his epic fund raising when he had only raised £200,000 just prior to him appearing on the Radio 2 Michael Ball Show – and we all know what happened next on that amazing adventure. We chased rainbows, showed teddies on bear hunts (we christened ours Arty, short for Arthur – for Arty of the Shires) and changed the graphics to show Arty in different places for people to hunt him down. We looked around the world for the good news, the good people – the amazing people and the amazing, positive contributions they were making. With the goodwill of so many people we knew our broken heart would be fixed.
We asked for visitor posts for their good news too:
“My friend Rebecca, set up a support group & recruited us to help her. We now have more than 70 volunteers who have been helping vulnerable people with shopping, prescription collection or just a friendly phone call to keep spirits up.” Commented Kim Maria Kircali.
“We have managed to raise £15,000 ? towards ours daughters operation. It so hard to fund raise in these times but hoping and praying we can hit target for when things return to some kind of normal again.” Claire Louise wrote.
and Ann Bingham, simply said: “My Son-in-Law survived.” It brought a lump to our throat.
Heart of the Shires survived too – with a larger following on Social Media, a website that had more hits whilst the venue was closed in one month, than when it was open the previous month and, on the best good news we could ever write – the news the venue could open once again we had so many comments welcoming this final good news.
And that’s not all: April 29th, ITV warned how the “Care sector will be broken by Coronavirus.” The Guardian, on April 6th reported that “Coronavirus is revealing how broken America’s economy really is.” The Atlantic, on April 1st, reported “In rebuilding a broken world, we will have the chance to choose a less hurried life.”
Our closed campaign was complete – now to start a new one, with Heart of the Shires open. Our heart was healed.