The Cunningly Good Group was appointed in September 2022 to provide HMS Unicorn with PR support for a six-month period, with the goal of raising the profile of Scotland’s oldest ship HMS Unicorn locally, nationally, and internationally in a bid to gather more support in anticipation of a major fundraising push to finance the ship’s major restoration needs and help get ‘Project Safe Haven’ off the ground. Project Safe Haven is an exciting development in the life of the ship and will involve a move from its current location to East Graving Dock in Dundee, forming the centre piece of a new Maritime Heritage Centre.
In conjunction with the client, the Cunningly Good Group created a six month PR plan identifying news worthy stories that were subsequently disseminated to the media, with corresponding social media copy also drafted allowing HMS Unicorn to broadcast the news from its own social media channels. In December 2022 the charity’s new individual giving scheme, Shipmates, was launched to capitalise on the Christmas gifting season. Working in partnership with a local Dundee artist Whimsical Lush to create a bespoke design for a keyring which would act as the membership card, Cunningly Good Group handled the media launch as well as the marketing of the membership scheme.
The popular museum and visitor attraction was closed for urgent repair work from mid-November until the end of February, which created a pent up demand for visits to the ship, helped by the significant amount of media coverage generated. Over the six-month period, more than 200 pieces of media coverage were achieved, including four features on STV news, a feature on both BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme and The Nine. Also including social media coverage, the coverage achieved an estimated 3.96 million views, with 18.3K engagements.
The media coverage had a dramatic impact on visitor numbers once the ship was reopened at the end of February 2023. In the first week of March 2023 revenue was up by 48% based on 2022 figures, with adult tickets up 140%, concessions up 196%, family tickets up 50% and child tickets up 120%. In addition, the Shipmates launch resulted in more memberships and donations than HMS Unicorn had received in the previous two years.