Chateau Impney in Droitwich is one of the most authentic examples of French chateau-style buildings in the UK, with a rich heritage that dates back to 1875. One particular period of note is 1957–1967, during which the Chateau’s magnificent grounds were the setting for a series of automotive speed trials that saw thousands of spectators line the drive.
Breathing life back into the sport
In 2015, the hotel owners decided to revive the Chateau’s racing past for a modern audience with the introduction of a hill climb over a longer, more demanding course. We were approached to help create a market-leading event that would help establish the Chateau Impney brand to a new audience while diversifying its profit base.
We handled every aspect of the event's marketing, including the vintage-inspired logo, bespoke responsive e-commerce website, photography, launch video, a huge suite of printed marketing collateral, signage, ticketing, advertising and media buying. Our local, regional and national PR programme focused on a mixture of hero cars and stories from across the country to establish the Chateau Impney Hill Climb as a nationally recognised brand.
The launch event was attended by more than 100 press and VIPs, while the inaugural event itself attracted 200 competitors, 10,000 spectators, and over 70 journalists and photographers from national specialist publications and local press, including Classic Car Weekly, Motorsport News, Classic & Sports Car, and Octane. BBC Hereford & Worcester broadcast live across the weekend, giving a total of an hour and a half of dedicated radio coverage. The event was also previewed in The Sunday Times, The Observer and the Daily Mirror.
Shifting gears for the second year
For the event’s second year, we had ambitious targets to meet to bring it to an even bigger audience. For 2015’s event, we had a prolific social media programme, utilising targeted advertising to reach car fanatics across the country and local families. In 2016, we increased our efforts with geo-targeting, specifically targeting people who attended rival events, and retargeting to encourage people to take advantage of early-bird ticket offers.
We also maximised the Hill Climb’s sponsorship deals, liaising with sponsors to ensure that exclusive offers and news were delivered straight to their customer bases via e-newsletters and direct mail campaigns.
On the weekend itself, we were proud to welcome over 100 journalists, photographers and bloggers from across the globe to the event media centre, including a team from BBC Midlands Today who broadcasted live from the Chateau on the eve of the event into the evening news programme. This, and another report that ran in the lunchtime news on the same day, meant 750,000 people heard about the event just hours before the gates opened. We also achieved live coverage from BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Hereford & Worcester’s Breakfast Show.
Throughout the event, we got out into the paddock to chat to the drivers for the Hill Climb’s social media channels, taking photos and making videos to share across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In order to get the Hill Climb atmosphere across, we used Facebook Live throughout the weekend so that our social media users could really feel as if they were there, and we live-tweeted as much of the event as possible. As a result, we reached 590,526 people on Facebook in 2015, and 1,291,306 people across both Facebook and Twitter in 2016.