PR Poppy Success – ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’


‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ created by Paul Cummins.

The picture says it all. A sea of poppies draped across and below the the iconic Tower of London is a spectacular sight. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper. It has and will attract thousands of people, marking one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war and the ceramic poppies will fill the moat around the tower progressively over the summer. By Remembrance Day on Nov 11th the moat will be full of 888, 246 poppies bought by the general public.

The event attracts it’s usual tourists but also Londoners who want to witness this spectacular event in their hometown.

In PR terms it could not be anymore of a clever blend. Creating something visually fantastic and also including one of London’s biggest landmarks is an instant newsworthy event for not only national but global media. Creating something this eye catching gives a great promotion to all the charities involved and London as a city in general. It also has a great active involvement with its audience. You can plant and buy your own poppy as part of paying your respects and volunteers are there each day to add the poppies to the installation. By doing this the event has created a way for the audience to feel involved with something that has become a global talking point and gives an instant visual satisfaction. All proceeds of the poppies are then to be shared amongst a variety of military charities.

Providing a reflective space for the public to stop and remember those who lost their lives in the First World War.

Providing a reflective space for the public to stop and remember those who lost their lives in the First World War.

Social media also has a huge involvement and the event of course has created a #hashtag. This gives the audience the opportunity to hare images of their installation and their own poppy once it has been planted into the ground – #TowerPoppies

It is also possible to buy a ceramic poppy to pay your respects online, by creating this opportunity it diminishes any geographical boundaries and allows buyers to take part from all over the world. Even though the Poppy Appeal is a well known and supported appeal already nationally, this has raised the appeals profile globally. Clever marketing, great PR and a historic landmark seems to me to be a very successful mix.

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