brand experiences



Mason Williams were charged with promoting the Phase One launch of Liverpool ONE, the £1bn retail and leisure led urban regeneration development. The launch campaign culminated in the Phase One Launch Event, opening Liverpool ONE to the public on Thursday 29 May.

Liverpool ONE, a Grosvenor project, was some eight years in the making and contributed to the city winning Capital of Culture. Grosvenor were on site for over three years resulting in a large portion of the city centre being closed off to the public for this duration.

Liverpool ONE’s opening was brought forward from September to May so the streets of Liverpool could be open to the public for as long as possible in Capital of Culture year. As such, the Phase One launch event opened an incomplete property. MW was tasked with promoting and managing the Phase One launch event whilst communicating this opening as one phase in an unfolding story.

Aims and Objectives:

  • Help design and manage the Phase One opening event
  • Manage all media activity during the launch campaign and at the event
  • Manage positive messages into the primary Liverpool audience, the secondary catchment area across the North West, and ensure strong communication to the national media
  • Ensure positivity for a retail led development opening incomplete after causing major city centre disruption for more than three years opening in a credit crunch
  • Work with city and regional partners from the Capital of Culture and the City Council to the Albert Docks, TMP and Visit Britain
  • Support the retail partners particularly anchor stores John Lewis and Debenhams

Pre Event – the Launch campaign:

  • MW implemented a major drive across all audiences from local and national media to retail and tourism partners, to communicate what the Phase One event would deliver in order to generate excitement whilst managing expectations

Press Material:

  • MW designed a creative press pack including a video tour of the construction site, engaging media with the development and offering a preview of what was behind the hoardings that had shut off a huge part of the city centre for so many years
  • The Phase One launch event press pack told the full story

Pre Event Media Momentum and Creativity:

  • MW established key messages as ‘giving back the streets to the city’, ‘reconnecting to the waterfront’, ‘the rebirth of a city centre’ and ‘the first chapter of our launch story’ and ensured that these messages were at the crux of all communication
  • In the week leading up to the launch event, MW:
  • Announced ‘Liverpool ONE’, the style face of the city chosen in a creative consumer launch campaign called ‘Are You the Liverpool ONE’ culminating in a fashion show at the event
  • Endorsements were harnessed from local celebrities. In particular the event featured heavily in ITV Granada’s ‘Les’ Liverpool’ with Les Denis filming throughout the launch
  • The launch featured positively on BBC Working Lunch, setting the context of the credit crunch and portraying the success of the development

The Event:

  • MW worked with Liverpool ONE and Spirit Marketing Group to create a major impact at the event unveil, followed continued entertainment throughout the day across the entire site
  • A major media and VIP breakfast was held on 29 May, to brief all media and furnish them with a copy of the official speeches for morning deadlines. All TV and photographers were briefed on the best locations
  • The unveil celebration and speeches took place where Liverpool ONE’s South John Street met the city’s Lord St, demonstrating the rebirth of the city centre
  • Dignitaries attended and the entire city was engaged with huge crowds extending up every street
  • Photographers and film crews were held in a media pen and an intense schedule of interviews was managed for each crew directly following the unveil
  • The event included musical entertainment, dramatic circ de soli performances, family friendly street performers themed around water to mark the reconnection of the city to the historic waterfront, and fashion shows engaging visitors with the brands and retailers opening on 29 May
  • A full schedule of radio interviews were managed throughout the day reaching across the city and secondary catchment area
  • A creative photography and filming shoot was arranged offering an aerial view of the entire site. This photo was featured on the front page of the Liverpool Echo and was used in TV footage

Evaluation and Measurement:

  • The campaign generated 257 items of coverage in core national and regional consumer media delivering controlled and positive messages to a targeted audience of 227,774,975 potential visitors.
  • The campaign achieved an equivalent advertising value of £2,299,166, generating a return on investment of 25:1
  • The Phase One launch event unveiled just 39 of 120 stores however the MW campaign ensured that there was no negativity in any media coverage
  • At the launch event MW managed 89 media including;12 national and regional TV crews,13 photographers,53 reporters and11 radio broadcasters
  • 10,000 visitors came to Liverpool ONE in the first 30 minutes of opening and 200,000 had visited by close of play
  • Coverage highlights from the launch event, all running w/c 26 May, included;5 items on ITV Granada,4 items on BBC North West,8 items on national BBC TV,74 items on radio including one broadcast on 5 Live and two on Radio 4 and19 items in regional newspapers including the front cover of the Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo on 29 May
  • Directly following the Phase One Launch Event footfall on the Albert Docks rose by 40% proving that the development bridged the gap between the city and the waterfront
  • Liverpool city centre footfall is 18% up since the Phase One opening event whist UK overall 5% down

Overall Campaign Results 2008-2010:

  • We took Liverpool ONE from pre-opening planning and development to one of the most high profile shopping destinations in the country, delivering:
  • Total Advertising Value: £11,542,520
  • Total Reach: 1,356,554,309
  • TV x 120 pieces
  • Radio x 332 pieces
  • Regional Newspapers x 491 pieces
  • National Newspapers x 49 pieces
  • Magazines x 59 pieces
  • Trade/Specialist x 74 pieces
  • Online x 716 pieces

Donna Howitt, marketing director at Liverpool ONE, said:

“Mason Williams are a hard working and dedicated team who have turned the perception of our brand from a negative position to a positive one. The coverage of our story has been quite extraordinary and we have been extremely and pleasantly surprised at the number of influential pieces that have appeared.”

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