Cannes Lions



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Alton Towers Resort (ATR) is best known for its rollercoasters such as Nemisis, Oblivion and Air but the Hotel, Spa and Waterpark remain unknown. The challenge is to generate interest in the broader resort offering, positioning it as a 'family short break destination'. Ultimately our brief is to take the brand off the travel pages and get it front of mind by securing mainstream news coverage in the run up to and during peak season (March – Oct).

In June 2009, ATR briefed us to raise awareness of the waterpark, highlighting it as a family destination and part of the ATR offering. Recognising the annual trend of 'celebs in Speedos', we decided to court controversy by banning the long established male swimwear for 'going against the family nature of the resort'.

Released as a news story the story went international, including 31 pieces of national coverage, 68 regionals, 116 online and 57 broadcast, generating a PR value of £1,702,664 and an ROI of 250:1.As a direct result, ATR saw a clear uplift in visitors during the period – attributed to the success of the story.


1) Court Controversy: News release We issued a news release entitled ‘Battle of the Bulge’ to all national news desks announcing that the Alton Towers Resort had banned Speedos from their Waterpark for not being ‘family friendly’ 2) Stir up the debate: Providing a reactive spokesperson.

Due to the controversial nature of the debate, Morwenna Angove (Sales & Marketing Director) was on hand to defend the decision conducting 10 post-story interviews including two appearances on Radio 4 Women’s Hour.3) Fuel the fire: Fashion/debate follow-up.

To take the story out of the news pages and stimulate debate further, we sold in to key fashion titles as well as targeting opinion-based columnists and DJ’s – resulting in a week-long debate on Capital Radio and Sky News.4) Maintain momentum.

We responded to public complaints and enforced the ban with the aim of driving further regional, broadcast and international coverage.


- 272 pieces of coverage including 31 nationals, 68 regionals, 116 online and 57 broadcast- 100% of coverage mentioned Alton Towers Resort and the Waterpark.- The campaign received a PRV of £1,702,664, OTS of 400,269,878 and ROI of 250:1.

- Footfall increased by 5000 per day in the week following the story.- ATR received 50 public letters of support and complaint, forcing them to strictly implement the ban.

Speedo offered to supply alternate swimwear in the hotel.Rachael Lockitt, PR Manager (2009) of the Alton Towers Resort, said:"Who could have imagined that changing our swimwear policy to benefit of our family audience would generate world-wide coverage. It captured imaginations across broadcast and print, sparking phone-ins and a 'Save the Speedo' facebook group! A truly exceptional campaign carefully timed and well executed. Those not aware that the Alton Towers Resort has a waterpark are now surely few and far between!"

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