As part of its continued sponsorship of the arts, Orange, the mobile telecommunications firm, had teamed up with Sir Bob Geldof for his project of illuminating London’s landmark buildings with Christmas messages of peace – together they launched the Orange Brighten Up London Campaign in Christmas 2003. onEdition Photography were brought in as the official photographers for this visually strong event, to shoot and distribute images all of the buildings that were illuminated during this campaign.
To generate publicity for Orange at Christmas, a time when mobile phone sales are traditionally high.
A number of prestigious buildings and monuments around London were illuminated in the week leading up to Christmas. These included the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Wellington Memorial, The Imperial War Museum, Greenwich Maritime Museum, the Royal Exchange and the National Theatre. Each day a new building was illuminated with a themed message from a series of celebrities, including Nelson Mandela, Stella McCartney, Jerry Hall and Kylie Minogue.
The press were invited to attend the illumination of each new building and onEdition shot images of all the buildings and monuments and distributed them to all the national newspapers as per the brief agreed with Orange and Ketchum, the PR company looking after the project.
The final illumination on Christmas Eve was to be the most dramatic – Buckingham Palace. The national and international newspapers were targeted for the Christmas Eve editions, so the Palace was specially illuminated three days before Christmas so that onEdition could do a photo-shoot and distribute the images on December 23rd for publication on Christmas Eve.
onEdition advised Orange not to invite media to attend the illumination of Buckingham Palace so that they could shoot it exclusively and control the date of the distribution of the images, something they would have been unable to do if other media had attended – even an embargo would have not guaranteed the use of these images on Christmas Eve only. If just one newspaper had gone ahead and published one of these images ahead of the others, none of the remaining newspapers would bother to publish them, as they would have become old news. onEdition decided that the most sensible option was to shoot the Palace illumination in the early hours of the morning to ensure that there were not any media around to witness or photograph it.
A selection of images was shot at 3am exclusively by onEdition, and this now meant they could totally control the distribution dates and therefore the date on which the images would be published. The images were distributed to the top 50 regional, all national and a selection of international newspapers by onEdition on the day before Christmas Eve. This was done first thing in the morning to ensure that the picture desks had the images by 9.30am, which meant that the Picture Editors could show them to the Editor and back-bench at the morning editorial meeting, hugely maximising the chances of getting them published in what would be a very early edition to go to print. onEdition called around all the national newspaper picture desks and did a sell-in of the images. The response gained from this call around was very positive and this feedback was then passed onto Orange.
In the run-up to Christmas Eve, onEdition secured strong media coverage for the illuminations across the capital in a number of national and regional newspapers.
Front-page coverage of the campaign was achieved in the Christmas Eve editions of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Independent and The Metro. The Sun newspaper used a front cover image in their early edition and along with the Daily Express, The Mirror and the London Evening Standard, ran inside picture spreads of the illumination. Many other national, regional and worldwide publications also used images from the campaign around the Christmas period. A New Year’s message illumination on Buckingham Palace also achieved front-page coverage in the New Year’s Eve edition of the Financial Times and appeared on the inside pages of a number of other titles.
Niamh Byrne, Director of Public Relations and Sponsorship, Orange UK, said, ‘onEdition shot the Brightening up London campaign for us and got stunning results... being that Buckingham Palace was pictured on most national newspapers on December 24th, 2003. We were delighted!’