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In previous years, we’ve been heavily involved with the production of assets for The Royal Highland Show – as well as creating the separate Kids Go Free campaign. 2019 marked the first time we had full control of the creation of all campaign collateral.

The show's former campaigns have relied heavily upon one hero photo of a prize-winning cow or sheep, so this year, we wanted to create a much stronger sense of the experience of the show itself. And creating a 30 second TV ad for The Royal Highland Show gave us a great opportunity to really bring the campaign to life.

Promoting the Country’s Best show

Painting a picture of the whole show

While posters and static ads use each of these individual images, our TV ad gave us the perfect opportunity to show them all together. We see colour burst into life through brush strokes across the surface of paper. As we pan out on these brush strokes, we reveal the illustrations from their smaller details to the wide finished shot with accompanying message.

We then transition from image to image, hearing sound effects which provide a sense of atmosphere. Each image helps to reinforce the headline and builds to the finale, where we end on our hero image of Skye – the prize-winning Highland Cow from 2018 – along with all the show details and the call to action.

The greatest show on earth

The Royal Highland Show is a celebration of Scotland’s finest farming, food and rural life. And it’s an occasion to recognise the hard work, the sacrifice, the stunning produce, the technological advances, the livestock and most importantly, bringing everyone together to acknowledge their achievements and honour everything that makes the show possible. We encapsulated all this with our campaign line, ‘Country’s Best’.

Considering the full media mix

For the broader campaign identity, we brought County’s Best to life through the beautiful work of illustrator Wil Freeborn. We commissioned Wil to create a set of watercolours illustrating each of the key areas of the show. With a range of these ‘hero’ images and a hand-drawn typographic treatment, we were able to create a flexible toolkit of assets to support our messaging.

Of course, we also looked after the overall media buying/planning, production and website design/build – making ‘The Show’ one of our best examples of a great 360 client.

Media-wise, there were very quick wins – we focused on digital first, mobile targeting, Sky Adsmart, radio as a core channel, programmatic display, great deals in OOH and contra deals with Edinburgh Trams & Ocean Outdoor.

As well as mainstream media buying, we also booked across specialist agricultural placements across multiple media channels. Overall, we reached over 8.6m targeted users and sold over 195,400 tickets to the show over 4 days – making 2019 the biggest attendance ever. Ticket intents YOY also increased by 68%.

Focusing on the free

A huge element of the overall ticket sales at The Royal Highland Show is the fact that children aged 15 or under get in for free when they’re accompanied by a paying adult. So much so, that each year, there’s a mini-campaign designed to showcase the ticket offer in a family-focused way. We created Highland Cow-themed visuals that would lend themselves to being animated, introducing an element of surprise and communicating the offer in an inclusive, fun and eye-catching way.