Are You Happy in Manchester?


Apparently Salford is the unhappiest place in the UK (because it has the fewest smiley selfies posted on Instagram), add to that the preconceived notion that it’s ‘grim up North’ and it makes Greater Manchester look like a pretty grisly place to be. So, as an extremely-proud-to-be Manchester-based business, we decided to prove the naysayers wrong and show just what an amazing place Manchester is.

Lawrence Jones, UKFast CEO, already set a mission to make 2014 a ‘Year of Giving Back’ for the company so from a business, marketing and PR perspective a video like this aligns perfectly to this goal.

Biggest Challenge
Spotting a trend for versions of Pharrell’s ‘24 Hours of Happy’ springing up across the web, we needed to move fast. To keep a ‘surprise’ and any chance of going local-viral, we needed to keep the exact project a secret.

The biggest challenge was getting people to sign up for a project that they knew little about!

The January Blues can put a real downer on the start of the New Year, but we hoped that by getting out on the streets and asking random members of the public to dance for a minute in front of our camera, we’d brighten some people’s days. It took a ballsy attitude and some convincing but it worked!

Promotion is Key
Clearly there’s no point having a video that you’re really proud of if nobody’s going to see it! We sowed the seeds and built some buzz simply by keeping it a secret! People love a bit of mystery. We invited hundreds of people to take part in the video; all receiving a very similar email letting them know that we were embarking upon a top-secret mission that we’d love them to be part of.

Once the video was complete, we posted it onto our brand’s YouTube channel (all nicely branded up with our logos etc), we sent each of these people (who were all waiting with bated breath at this point) a link to reveal all!

We also had a real push on social media – linking all posts with the hashtag #HappyMCR and featuring a summary of the video on our brand’s blog.

We tweeted everyone featured in the video throughout the day and responded to any tweets mentioning the ‘miserable Salford’ story. We also had a promoted post on our Facebook page.

We also emailed all of our contacts in the media, to share the love for our amazing city – more in the hope that the super-connected journalists would share the video through their social channels.

Within an hour we had local news-site MancunianMatters on the phone for an interview about the video, closely followed by the Manchester Evening News. The video and accompanying interview with Lawrence and a name-dropping few other people in there featured on the homepage of the MEN and a double page spread in the newspaper’s Saturday edition – again name-dropping most of the people featured in it.

Within four days the video had had more than 8,000 views, #HappyMCR had trended in Manchester several times and we’d had hundreds of social shares.

Why is video important?
If an image speaks a thousand words; a video speaks a million. Film opens up so many opportunities for a brand to get their message out there and to share a real sneak peek into what life at that business is about.

UKFast has a fully-fledged film team with editing suite and soon-to-be-completed film and recording studio but if brands can’t afford these luxuries, they don’t need this huge investment to dip a toe into the value of video. There are so many tools available right now that are ripe for the picking.

Vine is great for instant, in-the-moment snippets of video and some brands are doing this amazingly well []. Instagram gives you the added advantage of editing the footage before it goes live – GoPro are killing it right now with Instagram videos. []

It is important to have a reason for your videos. Don’t just do it because other people are. Think about the value in it; think about what people want to watch and share, and think about who you are aiming at before you even go near a camera.

But most of all you need to believe that it is going to be great – this project proves that energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

Take a look yourself:

About the Author

  • Alice Gibson

    Alice Gibson is the PR and Community Manager for hosting and colocation firm UKFast. Working across the full spectrum of B2B communications, it’s Alice’s job to share the goings-on at UKFast with the media, with clients and with the business community, making plenty of friends along the way. She has a penchant for bright hair dyes and loves a good cup of tea and a biscuit.


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