Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This is one of those times. Earlier this year, Bridgend County Council installed two benches along the award-winning Welsh coastline. The only problem was that, rather than facing the ocean, the benches faced a busy road and hotel. The media soon got wind of this and several newspapers printed articles about a botched council job.
We saw this as an opportunity to promote Bridgend County in a positive light. This was no council mishap, this was the birth of the UK’s first dedicated selfie bench! We drafted a short release and got it approved by the Bridgend Tourism team. One quick call with the Director of the Bridgend Tourism Association and we had ourselves an official quote and our first #selfiebench selfie on Twitter.
This was soon picked up by local press, with articles on Wales Online and ITV Wales News.Then the story went national. In the next few days it featured in publications including The Times,The Daily Telegraph, The Sun,The Independent,The Metro,Lonely Planet and BBC News.
Word spread and soon #selfiebench was being discussed on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans breakfast show, as well as featuring on ITV News at Six and ITV News at Ten. Even BBC Newsnight took to Twitter to ask people to share their #selfiebench selfies to feature at the end of the programme.
BBC Radio Wales dedicated an entire feature to selfie sharing, Heart Radio shared their own selfie on Twitter and our official Bridgend Tourism spokesperson was interviewed for six regional BBC radio stations. Combined, this broadcast coverage brought the beauty of Bridgend’s coastline to an estimated UK audience of 9.5 million people.
It was through social media, however, that the story truly went viral...
Local people, news presenters and politicians alike took to Twitter to post their own #selfiebench selfies and news networks shared the story with their online audiences. News spread far and wide, reaching Russia, India, China, North America and many other countries across the globe.
The selfies continue to flood in and Bridgend Tourism Team continue to receive praise for their ‘brazen PR prowess’ and all round ‘PR genius’. At the centre of it all remains the beautiful Welsh coastline, a backwards facing bench and one very simple idea…