CATAPULT AIR – NON-STOP TO SYLT.

Short List
ClientSYLT MARKETING
Category F01. Local Brand
TitleCATAPULT AIR – NON-STOP TO SYLT.
Product/ServiceTHE ISLAND OF SYLT
Entrant PHILIPP UND KEUNTJE Hamburg, GERMANY
Idea Creation PHILIPP UND KEUNTJE Hamburg, GERMANY
Production PHILIPP UND KEUNTJE Hamburg, GERMANY
Credits
Name Company Position
Diether Kerner Philipp und Keuntje Chief Creative Officer
Oliver Zacharias-Tölle Philipp und Keuntje Executive Creative Director
Guilherme Altreider Philipp und Keuntje Senior Art Director
Thorsten Binder - Senior Art Director
Klaus Huber Philipp und Keuntje Senior Copywriter
Jens Hoffmann Philipp und Keuntje Director Brand Consulting
Franziska Danger Philipp und Keuntje Client Service Director
Charlotta Dittmann Philipp und Keuntje Senior Project Manager
Christian Hibbeler Philipp und Keuntje Head of Film Department
Ines Wolff Philipp und Keuntje Producer
Caspar-Jan Hogerzeil - Director
Manuel Mack - Cinematographer
Hendrik Wonsak - Social Media Manager

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Sylt is a strong destination brand, an idyllic island in the north of Germany that people love to visit. But Sylt has a problem, a massive bottleneck that is threating its tourism industry. Our campaign received lots of positive PR in a short period of time and its call to action engaged the very same people that love Sylt so much. The people responded positively and politicians were pressured to finally improve the situation.

Background

Sylt is a major holiday destination island famous for its white sandy beaches. The German Hamptons. Every day, almost 5,000 commuters travel there. But, they depend on a single-tracked railroad built almost a century ago. A massive bottleneck. Sadly, delays and cancelations are standard, putting business and thousands of jobs in danger. Protests have been ignored for decades. Locals, commuters and the Sylt Marketing GmbH needed a powerful campaign to increase pressure on politicians and to call on people of the region to sign the petition for the railroad expansion.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Catapult Air. A fictional airline bringing people to the island of Sylt with a catapult. Much faster and more reliable than the German railroad. A lovingly staged two-minute film with island residents starring as airline staff and passengers. Ending with an appeal to rally supporters for Sylt’s railroad expansion petition.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

The strategy portrayed a ridiculous and abstract solution to a very real problem to help raise awareness within the population and encourage them to sign the petition for the railroad expansion. It was designed using humour, rather than a negative approach, as a tool to connect with people from the region who long to visit the idyllic island. It was meant to address locals, commuters and Northern Germans. We needed to move fast to take advantage of the “Sommerloch” – the summer slump, a two-month period during which few things are reported on the news as most institutions and families are on holidays. We launched the video at a time where a majority was open to the message, thinking about holidays, maybe even planning their visit to Sylt.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

The railroad expansion petition was created and the video was launched. Next, locals from Sylt shared it amongst themselves via WhatsApp and posted it on social media, at which point it spread like fire. Major German media reported about the video, creating lots of positive PR. A month later, once the initial wave subsided, Facebook ads ran for three weeks. They were addressed to five target groups. The petition was closed two months after the initial release, with nearly 50,000 signatures. So, our Catapult Air video – which didn’t feature professional actors, only island residents – organically conquered social media and made it to every major German media outlet in less than a week.

List the results (30% of vote)

After Catapult Air organically conquered social media and every major German media outlet, politicians couldn’t ignore the petition anymore. Only four months after releasing the video, the German minister of transport approved the railroad expansion with a budget of 221 million Euros. The island’s problem was solved with a super tiny budget and in a short period of time – achieving a 1.6 million Euros media value. The people’s longstanding fears and worries were finally gone. The creative strategy proved that a good idea can have a powerful political impact, without paying for lobbyists or an expensive campaign. It motivated people from all over the country to get involved and join those directly affected to create a positive outcome. In the end, the video increased the exposure of the brand Sylt and contributed to a better quality of life for residents and commuters.

Please tell us about the brand in relation to the locality or market where the product / service is distributed

Sylt is a destination brand, an idyllic island in the Northern German state of Schleswig Holstein. Most Germans dream to visit the island and the white sandy beaches its famous for. Thousands of jobs depend on the popularity of Sylt with tourists, but businesses are endangered by the infrastructure challenges. The “product/service” in this case was raising awareness about the desperate need for a railroad expansion so people in the region would support the existing petition addressed to the government.