2012 was the year of the Preston Guild, and Vivid undertook to create an exciting campaign that would ensure the success of the Guild. Preston Guild dates back to 1179 and is a historic celebration of over 800 years of heritage. It’s unique in that it’s the only guild still celebrated in the UK. The Guild is historically important – especially in the development of Preston, but what has always been of central importance is the people involved. Those who help to organise it, through planning and administrating the event, contributing stories, taking part and each and every person who enjoys the Guild. So to celebrate and commemorate Preston Guild properly we wanted to also keep the people at the heart, and create a strategy that echoed what people thought of this unique event that only comes around once every 20 years. The ‘It’s’ campaign enables us to upsell the events and express peoples thoughts through all media and merchandise.
The It’s campaign was rolled out across various merchandise products including mugs, pens, pencils t-shirts, puzzles and tote bags. The merchandise not only acted as a means of raising awareness and subsequently the profile of Preston Guild, but created a new public trend through the creative and stylish design. As well employing more ‘traditional’ outdoor media activities the campaign also achieved a media first, using the first ever magnetic 6 sheet posters in the UK.
The campaign was a huge success, during Guild week Preston welcomed over 900,000 visitors – resulting in over £25m generated for the local economy. Free events such as the Vintage Weekend drew vast crowds, with many paid events being sold out. The success of the Guild extended outside of Preston, with over 8,000 people watching on the internet in addition to thousands on big screens in Preston Flag Market – as over 600 returning Guild burgesses registered at the Guild Court. Over 20,000 people took part in the trades, church and community and torchlight processions – with over 100,000 alone watching the torchlight procession. Run Preston enjoyed a record number of participants, with over 2,000 runners taking part and the Guild marathon even had to be rerouted to meet unprecedented demand, reaching full capacity with 4,000 registered runners.
In addition to these impressive numbers, the Council and its staff have received many letters and messages of support from both individuals and organisations taking part or simply enjoying the Guild. There is an atmosphere of enthusiasm and excitement left behind by the Guild and most importantly an eagerness from local businesses and people to build on the success of the Guild with future events in Preston.