Branding, Marketing, PR & Events : a successful case study

Swindon's Disney Christmas Lights Switch-On

In the past Swindon town centre has always had a positive turnout for the Christmas Lights Switch-On event where attendance over the years has been between 6,000 and 10,000 depending on the guest stars. In 2010 the town became the UK's first to be twinned with Walt Disney in Florida for 12 months as part of a Disney initiative. It was important for the BID company (inSwindon) to take advantage of this and use the opportunity to promote what the town centre has to offer leveraging potential regional and national media coverage (which occurred through the BBC).

In February 2010, inSwindon approached Disney to come up with the concept for the Christmas Lights Switch-On. Over the following 9 months the two companies worked together on the format of the event and how this would be publicised. Working tightly on Disney's branding guidelines and restrictions in place about naming of characters, inSwindon was successfully able to market the event to the general public without disclosing the main event details. The event was promoted as: 'Swindon's Christmas Lights Switch-On with a Sprinkling of Disney Magic.'

inSwindon worked closely with the Disney Special Events Team in London to coordinate timings and requirements for the characters of the main show. The was a great success with a twenty minute performance with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy all making a grand appearance singing traditional Christmas carols. The Disney's Special Events Team also required a Disney Choir for the event. inSwindon liaised with a local Swindon school where ten pupils took advantage of the opportunity to be on stage.

This event turned out to be the biggest to be held in the town centre with record numbers and crowd in attendance. Without a clear partnership such as the steering group including local government, the Police, medical crews and the fire brigade, set up to deal with some issues such as crowd numbers, fireworks and vehicle logistics, the event would have been impossible to deliver. In anticipation that more people would attend than the event arena had capacity for, inSwindon set up a 25 metre square satellite screen at the other end of the town centre where people who couldn't view the main stage or Big Screen at Wharf Green could still enjoy the show and be a part of the live music and fireworks display.

More information on inSwindon.