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Carswell Gould makes Southampton Christmas Festival a seasonal success

Southampton’s Christmas Festival in 2015 was hailed as the most successful Christmas event held in the city, thanks to the help of a PR and social media campaign dreamed up by Carswell Gould’s team of festive elves – along with a Flying Santa and Christmas song competition to draw the crowds.

A festive flying start to Christmas

In 2015, the city of Southampton saw the arrival of a totally revamped Christmas Festival – bigger and better than anything previously held in the city.

Teaming up with WELA-Märkte, an established Christmas market company from Germany, Carswell Gould’s PR specialists launched a targeted media campaign that included extensive coverage on Capital South Coast and BBC Radio Solent, as well as huge exposure in the Southern Daily Echo.

Following the well-attended launch of the festival, the UK’s first Flying Santa soared over the roofs of the Alpine chalet stalls, attracting great media attention; as did the young winners of the Sing a Song for Santa competition, who performed live on air at the market in December. 

Twitter and Facebook were used to maximise the festival’s public exposure with competitions, voucher giveaways, fun photos, festive tweets and posts, a giant Advent calendar and coverage of the daily Flying Santa show posted online.

The results were impressive: the Christmas Festival beer and bratwurst giveaway competition reached a massive 98,100 people, the PR coverage reached 4,238,708 and the Facebook activity clocked up an overall reach of 730,495.

Jingle all the way…

Carswell Gould promoted the Southampton Christmas Festival, launched in Above Bar on Saturday 14 November, with press releases, website stories and social media coverage both in the lead-up to, and during, the festival.

Market highlights

Thousands of people flooded into Southampton city centre to watch the Christmas lights turn on and start their Christmas shopping. The free festival featured daily live music from Bavarian artists and music from Capital’s roadshow. The traditional German fare included bratwurst, waffles, gingerbread hearts (lebkuchen), pork rolls and candied fruits. In other stalls, Christmas shoppers found a range of hand-made gifts, including wooden toys, baskets, soaps, lamps, jewellery and Christmas decorations.

Perfect partners

Carswell Gould developed a partnership with Capital South Coast radio station to promote the festival throughout with on-air mentions, regular social media presence, interacting with the local community and competitions.

Online coverage

Competitions, including Sing a Song for Santa and Stall of the Week, reached 730,495 on Facebook. Pupils from Shirley Warren Primary School, sang their winning song ‘What Christmas Means To Me’ at the festival live on BBC Radio Solent.

Capital South Coast’s Happy Hour and National Christmas Jumper Day proved popular on social media, as did the fun giant Advent calendar.

Party time

Carswell Gould even joined in the festive fun by holding a Christmas client party in the centre of the festival action, which saw lots of beer and bratwurst too!

Real Christmas presence

The 2015 Southampton Christmas Festival has been widely recognised as the best ever, and a successful launch of an international event company into Southampton’s business scene. Carswell Gould’s campaign successfully achieved the objectives of reaching the widest audience locally and interacting with the visiting public at the festival to maximum effect.

Key Points