Tall order behind giant billboard
THERE'S more than a year to go, but the marketing team behind Waterford's leg of the 2011 Tall Ships extravaganza have already begun creating a stir with the launch of the country's biggest billboard.
Unveiled under the theme "500 days to go", the billboard is super-imposed across an entire building on Waterford's quays, cutting a striking figure over the city's waterways. "There was a big empty building that wasn't too pleasant on the eye," says Stephen Kent, who heads up the event's eight-man marketing committee. "We've found a use for it."
The billboard is just one strand to a million-euro marketing strategy that's also seen the launch of a new all-singing, all-dancing website.
The Waterford Tall Ships committee has already begun its PR efforts in earnest and is planning more activity at the Hartlepool leg of the 2010 Tall Ships race this August.
The main above-the-line action will begin with press ads next January or February, followed by TV ads six to eight weeks before the ships arrive on June 30.
All the activity is designed to lure more than 500,000 visitors to Waterford for the big event, a figure on a par with last summer's Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Galway and 150,000 more than Waterford attracted when the Tall Ships first came to port in 2005.
"The last time we had no idea how big it could be, this time we know it can be even bigger," says Kent, who juggles his Tall Ships role with a day job as marketing manager for Bulmers. With the marketing plan in place, the next big job for Waterford's Tall Ships is firming up sponsors.
"That's being done by a different committee, but they'd hope to be announcing something this summer," says Kent.