#WhatTheFox? wins at Public Affairs Awards 2014

Freshwater UK’s What The Fox? campaign with the League Against Cruel Sports has been named Best In-House Agency Collaboration at the PRCA’s Public Affairs Awards 2014.

The campaign helped to quash a proposed amendment to the Hunting Act 2004 which would allow a full pack of hounds to draw out a fox to a waiting gun.

What The Fox? saw Freshwater and the League mobilise support from key political stakeholders, existing League supporters and the general public by using tailored briefing materials and a range of channels such as Twitter, Twibbon, Facebook, press and online advertising and flyering.

The campaign was described as “a clever blend of traditional tactics and new media” by the judging committee, which was headed by former chair of the Association of Professional Political Consultants, Michael Burrell, and included PubAffairs founder and director Phil Murphy.

Freshwater’s group managing director, Angharad Neagle, said: “This award reflects our commitment to working in close partnership with our clients to develop creative, multi-channel campaigns that deliver results on issues that really matter.

“What The Fox? drew on expertise from both our London and Cardiff offices, delivering a hard-hitting campaign that incorporated many strands of our fully-integrated offering.

“Of course, the real win here was quashing the immediate threat to the Hunting Act 2004 which made hunting with dogs for sport illegal in England and Wales – and all within a month of our campaign launching.”

Michael Stephenson, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, explains: “This campaign played a vital role in stopping the re-introduction of hunting with dogs via the back door.

“The Hunting Act is the most successful piece of wild animal welfare legislation in history and the fact that it is still intact is in great part due to the way “What the Fox?” brought together all the different aspects of traditional and modern campaigning.

“Thanks to the efforts of all those involved in the campaign, the Hunting Act is here to stay.”

The campaign beat off competition from Hanover in conjunction with The John Lewis Partnership, Greener Journeys, and Cogitamus Limited and Network Rail GNGE Alliance.

The inaugural ceremony was held at the Park Plaza Riverbank and compered by Sky News’ chief political correspondent Jon Craig.

Francis Ingham, PRCA director general, said: “This has been a superb year to launch the Public Affairs Awards – the calibre of entries has been incredibly impressive. The public affairs industry is clearly in rude health – and long may it continue.”

Read more about the What The Fox? campaign below.

Driving engagement and delivering results

The hashtag #WhatTheFox? was designed to grab attention, get people talking and to aggregate all campaign activity. When a Twibbon featuring a fox visual was added to a Twitter profile, an auto-tweet was directed to @David_Cameron with the hashtag #WhatTheFox?

Supporters and prospects were also encouraged to change their Facebook cover photo to the #WhatTheFox? banner, to post set tweets and Facebook updates, as well as to share pictures of themselves with the campaign adverts via social media.

The Twibbon initiative generated 462 supports and 885 Facebook shares. Twitter followers increased by 14 percent during the campaign period and Facebook likes increased by 76 percent.

Media coverage included a front page spread in the Times, as well as articles in the Observer and Express. Advertising reached 2.2 million people and included placements in the Telegraph, Evening Standard and Metro as well as an MPU advert on www.conservativehome.com

Talking politics

To supplement the League’s engagement with key political figures in Westminster, Freshwater engaged with politicians in Wales to broaden the reach and rally UK-wide support. The agency monitored parliamentary activity, developed an audit of target politicians, and assisted in drafting political ‘letters to’ and briefings.

Freshwater also developed lead angles for media and drafted press releases, articles and content for political blogs – selling these in to key targets to raise awareness. The League and Freshwater worked in tight partnership to develop a powerful infographic and flyer to present the key arguments in a highly visual way.

Following Freshwater and the League’s key briefings with politicians and fully integrated campaign, David Cameron responded directly to a question on this matter posed by Angela Smith MP on 26th March.

And as a result of this successful in-house and agency collaboration, the threat was quashed.