National PR campaign to support flagship fundraising drive


The RNLI rescue teams have responded to the ‘Mayday’ calls of those in distress for more than 190 years. Freshwater was asked to devise and implement a PR campaign over the May Day bank holiday weekend to encourage the public to respond to the RNLI’s own call for help – to fundraise, donate, and volunteer. The campaign had to work at a national and local level, in both the UK and Ireland, and centre on an existing symbol – the iconic “Yellow Welly” worn by volunteer lifeboat crew members.


We centred our creative ideas on the yellow wellies to ensure they amplified the current campaign, and campaigns that had gone before. Prior to the official launch, this included welly-themed desk drops and engagement with journalists at national newspapers and social media influencers. Photocalls with RNLI-supporting celebrities such as Dermot O’Leary, Lisa Snowdon and Richard Branson, each sporting yellow wellies of their own, helped to build momentum and create a buzz on social media.

For May Day itself, we commissioned four giant yellow wellies and heavy duty vinyl footprints that were placed in areas of high foot-fall in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin. Freshwater was responsible for overseeing the branding, design and production of the wellingtons and plinths. We also secured the locations and managed the liaison with land owners in the four cities, producing method statements and risk assessments for each application process. Comprehensive briefing documents for the ground teams and a dedicated Freshwater project manager who was on-call throughout launch day ensured the activity ran smoothly at each location.


The giant wellies added a fun, engaging and interactive element to the Mayday campaign in four major cities. Targeted media relations achieved coverage across print, online, broadcast and social media including with the BBC, Mashable and Daily Mirror, reaching over 215 million people with messages about the life-saving work of the RNLI.


Louise Harris

0207 067 1595


Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)

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    • Public Relations
    • Event Management
    • Social Media Marketing


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January 2015 - May 2015