A multi-channel campaign for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water targeting people across Wales which set out to change behaviours around pesticide use in a domestic setting, offering educational information around how to use, store and dispose of pesticides correctly and providing natural alternatives to try at home to replace pest and weedkilling chemicals.
Strategy and planning
We took a three-pronged approach to identifying our audiences for the campaign: stakeholder mapping, analysis and engagement. This involved strategic mapping of key audiences and stakeholders and determining their levels of engagement. We led on discussions with stakeholders by employing a different strategy for outreach with each, for instance targeting Welsh gardening groups with online surveys to gain insight that would help inform and shape our content.
To ensure our campaign was driven towards our objectives, we created a campaign themes and messaging toolkit. The go-to guide included specific messaging under each theme which we continually referred back to. Content always linked to at least one theme, giving each piece of content a purpose.
To share our messaging through a trusted voice, we partnered with expert gardener Terry Walton, known for gardening slots on ITV’s This Morning, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Wales. As our ambassador for the PestSmart campaign, Terry would feature throughout our comms and content, as a trustworthy influencer to help share our behaviour change messaging.
The PestSmart website
A leading element of the campaign involved developing a microsite for PestSmart, a place to drive the public to, to get important information on using pesticides.
We built the bilingual PestSmart microsite in-house, developing a user friendly, engaging and practical site which hosts a variety of content. To do so, we:
An integral part of our PestSmart campaign was to create ‘evergreen’ content for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to use for years to come. With that in mind, we wrote over 15 advice and information-led blogs that linked to our key messages and themes to share best practice advice for using pesticides in a domestic setting and alternatives to use.
We also teamed up with key stakeholders to write ‘guest blogs’ for the website, including Terry Walton, John Burns from Burns Pet Nutrition, the Amenity Forum and gardening Youtuber Owen Harries, to ensure different voices were featured on the website.
The English website achieved total traffic of 59,173 from 43,002 unique users, and the Welsh website had website traffic of 5,701 from 4,941 unique users.
This resulted in the total website traffic being 64,874 from 47,943 unique users. This is 1197.48% more than our original KPI.
We developed a series of five videos that linked to each of the campaign key themes and, importantly, are not time sensitive, meaning they can be used seasonally for years to come. The video content was created to complement the website blogs. Presented by Terry Walton, they addressed each aspect of sharing best practice when using pesticides. Coupled with Terry leading the narrative of the videos, we also used actors within the video to show the audience what best practice looks like in action through the video.
Scrolling through social media sites, many of us will have seen the step-by-step cooking videos from channels like Tasty. Shot from above with only hands and various ingredients on screen, the videos have a distinct and recognisable style. We created a video concept that mimicked the style to produce a ‘step-by-step natural solutions to pests’ guide.
To create a news story for media to launch the behaviour change campaign, we needed to show our target audience that there is an issue – rising traces of pesticides in watercourses in Wales – that must be addressed. This became our news hook. We developed and commissioned a survey story that would allow us to show that people in Wales don’t know enough about how to use, store or dispose of pesticides properly at home. Using this data as our evidence, we were then able to introduce the new PestSmart website, launched by Dŵr Cymru, as a direct response to the survey findings and its own findings at water treatment works. With the survey results, we created a media story to bring awareness to the PestSmart campaign and launching the new website. We launched the campaign externally strategically over May bank holiday weekend, when people were likely to be spending time in the garden which added another news hook for media.
Through our PR work, we secured broadcast coverage with key media outlets – BBC Radio Wales’ Country Focus and ITV Wales’ Coast & Country - which included interviews with Welsh Water’s Dr Phillippa Pearson and PestSmart ambassador Terry Walton.
To help promote PestSmart and educate the general public about pesticides, we took out an advertorial on WalesOnline. The advertorial was a quiz about gardening and pesticides which 2,029 took part in. The advertorial achieved 9,200 page views and an organic social reach of over 130,000, almost 2,000 Facebook engagements (likes/shares/reactions/comments) and over 200 Twitter engagements. The native ads delivered over 800,000 impressions and the Newsjacks provided an additional 22,500 opportunities for the article to be seen.
To promote PestSmart, we created digital and radio ads across multiple platforms to go out during key spikes in the campaign such as bank holidays and the summer holidays. The ads started on the 30th April and finished on the 31st August. The adverts ran on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Display, the Google Search Network, Spotify and commercial and community radio. We chose to run adverts across multiple platforms as it helped to target people in a variety of ways which allowed PestSmart and the key messages to stay in people’s minds. The adverts were created in Welsh and English and targeted adults across Wales who lived in a property, had a garden, had children or pets and those interested in gardening.
The digital and radio advertising campaign generated almost 15,000,000 impressions and over 80,000 clicks through to the PestSmart website, which is much higher than we initially predicted and therefore can be considered a success.
To accompany each blog, we created a suite of multi-channel social media content with accompanying on-brand graphics or graphic-led videos.
When creating social media content, careful consideration was given to how social media users engage with content. With this in mind, we focused our content towards GIFs and short videos for social, which tend to get better engagement than still graphics. This meant Twitter, Facebook, Instagram Grid and Instagram Stories all had appropriate and engaging content prepared for the communications phase.
Equally we used video assets to form part of our social media content plan.
Working with influencers to share our key messages
An important element of the communication phase was engaging with gardening/growing influencers to further utilise trusted voices to share our campaign messages.
Over the course of the PestSmart campaign, we worked with four social media influencers from across Wales, these were, Adam yn y Ardd, Erica’s Little Welsh Garden, The Welsh Gardener and Botanical babe. We strategically working with influencers whose follower weighting varied between Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Tik Tok.