Harlow Sheep Trail
Like many towns in recent years, Harlow had begun to suffer from a variety of economy-related difficulties. The Summertime Sheep Trail aimed to increase footfall by attracting more families into and, importantly, throughout, the town centre during what would normally have been a fairly slow period (August - October), to bring an additional focus to major cultural events and to brighten up a rather tired looking town in a friendly and fun manner.
The Summertime Sheep Trail successfully transformed Harlow Town Centre into a destination, increasing footfall and sales at an otherwise slow period, provided fun and pleasure to children and parents alike, generated positive media relations on all levels and raised over £2,000 for charity.
This project linked two artistic events in Harlow, a Henry Moore sheep exhibition and a new gallery/studio space for aspiring artists. 30 painted fibreglass sheep were placed at strategic locations throughout the town centre. Primary schoolchildren received 8,000 cardboard lambs to decorate and name, plus trail maps and instructions for displaying their lambs in the town centre. A full marketing and media relations campaign was designed to help transform perceptions of the town of Harlow itself, a town not necessarily known for a good image.
This campaign was built from the ground up. GSK provided initial funding, allowing the Town Centre Manager to purchase the first metre-long sheep, which was literally carried around the town centre to potential sponsors to the amusement of onlookers.
Positive word of mouth quickly sprea. The Water Gardens (shopping centre) became the main sponsor, allowing 8,000 A4 cardboard engineered lambs to be created. They were put in A5 envelopes with folded A3 trail maps, entry forms and sponsors' information and delivered to school children and to libraries just before the summer break. Council staff were involved by being able to submit the best names (winner was Lady Baa Baa).
The flock of fibreglass sheep were driven across Tower Bridge and through the City of London on launch day with BBC Radio London presenters Paul Ross and Amanda Lamb (no relation) interviewing the Town Centre Development Manager.
Throughout the summer, children's lambs were on display. Maps were widely available, a Facebook page and Twitter account established and numerous pages set up on the town centre website, harlowlive.com, including an interactive map. The budget for the entire project during 2010 was approximately £12,000 of which half was for the sheep themselves. At the end of October, several sheep were auctioned, raising over 2,000 for charity. Other sheep remained in situ, well over a year later, and are still talking points around the town.