MCG achieves blanket broadcast coverage for John Farnworth
For a PR person nothing is more satisfying than hearing a complete stranger mention your client and the messages you have been trying to communicate. For the MCG team in the run-up to the Virgin London Marathon, this became a regular occurrence: people were talking about John Farnworth 'the keepy uppy guy'.
Since the age of 17, John Farnworth has been juggling a football around his hometown of Preston. Now 25 and a professional football freestyler, John's fancy footwork takes him around the world from America and the UAE to Argentina and Switzerland.
Inspired by the football charity Kick4Life, one day John woke up with a crazy, ambitious idea. He decided he wanted to juggle a football around the 26.2 mile route of the Virgin London Marathon. His aim was to attempt to beat the current Guinness World Record and raise much-needed funds for the charity.
John asked MCG to help raise awareness of the challenge and the work of the charity as well as boosting his profile. We knew that it would be difficult to secure standout for John amongst all the other high-profile and worthy Virgin London Marathon stories, so we came up with a campaign that would enable John to get exposure in the run up to the event.
- To raise awareness of John Farnworth, his talent, his personal brand and his website
- Communicate the Kick4Life ethos and its work in Lesotho, southern Africa
- Generate donations for the Virgin London Marathon Football Freestyle Marathon challenge – target is £10,000 by September 2011
- Increase likes on John's Facebook page and his followers on Twitter
- Launched a hands-on press office, travelling the country with John to highlight his challenge wherever possible
- Created a busking tour prior to the Virgin London Marathon in order to create a sustained news hook and photo opportunity for print media. Venues included St. Pancras International Station, Covent Garden and Kingston Market
- Managed social media portals (Facebook, Twitter) with the aim of driving traffic to the Kick4Life donations page
- Visited football, sport and consumer media journalists to do demonstrations and communicate key messages.
- Increased Facebook fans by 10% (648 new likes)
- Doubled twitter following and engaged a number of celebrities and sports personalities. Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton and BBC Breakfast's Mike Bushell showed their support through Twitter, helping to boost John's profile and Darren Campbell called while he was live on air on Talk Sport
- One Saturday morning prior to the Marathon John was simultaneously being mentioned on BBC breakfast, appearing on MOTD Kickabout and live on Soccer AM
- Appearances on The One Show, MUTV and the Hawksbee & Jacobs show on TalkSport and a number of mentions during the live London Marathon coverage across the BBC
- Shortlist featured his version of a Wayne Rooney bicycle kick in its regular feature 'Instructions for Men'
- Secured coverage on Mirror.co.uk performing tricks on the 22nd floor of One Canada Square.
- Walked step by step with John for 10 hours during the London Marathon
- The fundraising effort has secured more than £5,000 towards the target of £10,000 which will fund Kick4Life's project in Lesotho in September
- The momentum achieved by the campaign means that the team have been able to secure further sponsorships and events and they are confident they will exceed the target
Other coverage included:
- BBC Breakfast
- Soccer AM
- The One Show
- Daily Mail
- Inside United
- Manchester United programme
- Four Four Two Performance
- Talk Sport
- United Review
- Match of the Day Kickabout
- St Pancras International online
- Zoo online
- Granada TV
- Manchester United TV
- Men's Running
- Soccer Daily
- Kingston Guardian
- Sidmouth Herald
- This little lady went to London blog
- All in London
- Running Free
- Lancashire Evening Post
- Lancashire Telegraph
- Health Club Management
Carly Warren, TalkSport
"It was an absolute delight working with Joss and the team in the run up to John Farnworth's Marathon attempt. MCG's professionalism and attention to detail was first class. The presenters, Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs thoroughly enjoyed speaking to John and were bowled over by his World Record Attempt and all that he has achieved at such a young age. The team at MCG kept us informed at every stage of the process and the presenters were thrilled to have John back on the show after the Marathon, and to hear of his latest success. MCG are one of the finest Public Relations companies I've dealt with in recent times."
Rhiane Kirkby, MOTD Kickabout
"John's team have been fantastic to work with – they've been extremely accommodating and have gone above and beyond to provide us with access to John and his training regime."
Get in touch
If you would like to find out more about MCG or would like to talk to us about a project, please call Christine Mortimer on 0113 307 0113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.