Monday, 6 December 2010

CIPR Awards 2010 Counties South Gold winner

Title of entry: The Butterfly Effect
Client Name: Holland and Barrett
Agency Name: Pegasus Public Relations
The CIPR Pride Awards are a yearly award given to great PR campaigns all over the UK.

For my PR Strategy, Campaign Planning and Evaluation unit, I was asked to give a presentation to my class on a Pride Award winner from 2010 from Counties South region. I looked through all the winners and i decided that 'The Butterfly Effect' was the one that stood out in my head.

Linking the banning of plastic bags into a 25 year support of a butterfly project positioned Holland & Barrett on the way of a major environmental concern that spoke directly to their target audience of green conscious customers and threw down a challenge for the rest of the high street to follow them. The campaign delivered a news splash across the media reaching an audience of 55 million championing the health food chain for being the first major retailer to ban plastic bags and showcased their green credentials to a consumer, business and industry audience.


  • A campaign theme ‘Butterfly Effect’ playing on a well known phrase to show how small changes, such as those Holland & Barrett’s is making as part of Plan-It-Green policy, can have a big effect.
  • Increase profile of key spokespeople and develop Holland & Barrett environmental credibility among their eco target customers.
  • Utilise range of media activities to ensure campaign is made relevant.


The campaign ran in October- December 2009 in the run up to the plastic bag ban on January 1st 2010.

Butterfly Effect Press Briefing: 12th November 2009
  • London Zoo was chosen as the venue for the briefing allowed interviews and photos to take place in the Butterfly paradise enclosure to tie into the butterfly effect theme.
  • The venue was used earlier by Gordon Brown to deliver manifesto on Global warming and would therefore be familiar to target audience.
  • High profile business, consumer affairs, environmental and industry journalists were invited to the briefing were Holland and Barrett's CEO Peter Aldis unveiled the retail chain's Plan it green strategy and introduced the new butterfly bags.
  • Professor Jeremy Thomas discussed his conservation work the large blue butterfly and how Holland and Barrett supported his project to bring back the species from extinction in the UK.
  • All attendees received exclusive signed copies of Sir David Attenborough's book 'Life Stories' inside with the new jute butterfly bags with a full press pack.
The campaign met all the objectives which were stated in the strategies:
  • Using independent media evaluation, the three month campaign created over 55million opportunities to see through 26 items of coverage with an equivalent PR value of £554,623 representing a 18 to 1 return on investment.
  • Two distinct waves of press coverage followed the press briefing in mid November and on the 1st of January.
  • Press briefing was attended by 13 broadcast, national, business and consumer journalists including the Daily Mail and Radio 4’s The Today Programme.

Raise awareness of Holland & Barrett as an environmentally aware retailer and communicate social responsibility.
· 70% of the coverage cited Holland & Barrett as being the first major retailer to ban plastic bags.
· Grabbed attention of Dimoldenberg Labour Group leader at Westminster council who commented about the ban.

Increase profile of key spokespeople and develop Holland & Barrett environmental credibility among their eco conscious target customer.
  • Holland and Barrett CEO Peter Aldis was quoted in 3 quarters of the press coverage.
  • Eight articles across eco and environmental specific media congratulating Holland and Barrett for banning plastic bags.
  • Numerous tweets were seen across twitter again congratulating and supporting the ban at Holland and Barrett.

Utilise range of media activities to ensure campaign is made relevant for health pages, business targets and consumers to maximise campaign reach.
  • Coverage across a wide variety of media from daily national newspapers such as The Daily Mail and The Guardian, to specialist eco titles such as Green My Style, business titles such as Real Business and industry publications including Health Food Business and Retail Week.

I believe that this was a great campaign full of creativity which matched the strategy and deserved to win a Gold award. Well done Pegasus PR.
My questions to you are as follows:

  • Do you think it deserved a Gold award?
  • What did you think about the briefing being held in London Zoo: Butterfly paradise a good or bad idea?
  • Did you like the creativity of the campaign?
  • Finally, what would you rate this campaign out of 5? And why?

Your comments and feedback please.
Thank you.


  1. I thought this campaign was really creative and and knew exactly how to get the medias attention by linking it to something that would create a fun day out in the use of the butterflies. I think it deserved the gold award because of how well it got the media involved and all the positive coverage it got.

    However there are a few negative points id like to add:

    When i first heard of this campaign i was quite confused as to why they chose to link to the conservation of butterflies. did holland and barrats create the butterfly project or did they just support it because it was to do with being environmental so it linked with the plastic bag ban??

    also i dont think it involved the big amount of male customers well enough because theyre not really going to want to walk around with a butterfly bag...and for that reason i would give it a 3.5 out of 5!!

    Everything else in the campaign worked really well

  2. Thank you Ines for your comment. Pegasus Public Relations linked the banning of plastic bags into its 25 year support of a butterfly conservation project.

    They employed a campaign theme of the 'Butterfly Effect' playing on a well known phrase to showcase how small changes, such as those Holland and Barrett is making as part of the Plan-It-Green policy, can have a big effect.

    Because basically these large blue butterflies were pronounced extinct in Britain in 1979 but today these butterflies can be found on 33 sites in the south-west of England. This is a tribute to a large-scale conservation programme underpinned by innovative science and omplemented by a determined and broad partnership. ( This was all in the Large Blue Butterfly Collaborating to Conserve hand out i gave out during my presentation). So this just shows that a small change can have a big effect. And with Holland and Barrett being the first high street retailer to band plastic bags this small change can have a big effect as high street retailers can follow them and it will have a big impact on the environment.

    However, i disagreee with you giving the campaign 3.5 out of 5 on the grounds of what you disagreed on. But that is my personal opinion.

    I would love some more comments so i can see what everyone else thinks.

    Once again Thank you Ines for your feedback.

  3. Hi Melanie,

    All in all I think this was a good campaign and did deserve the gold award. However, it does seem to have some holes.

    'The butterfly effect' s a great name for the campaign and really highlights how small things can make a big difference. But apart from the name I cant see any other reason they should have chosen to link the campaign with butterfly conservation. It just seems like they jumped the gun and made a quick decision without much consideration of other options. Their reasoning just seems a little thin to me.

    Regardless of this the rest of the campaign was carried out brilliantly. It was a very brave move to ban plastic bags in the first place. I think staging the press briefing in the butterfly sanctuary was a great idea, as well as giving out press packs in the new butterfly bag.

    The amount of coverage they got was great, as was the involvement of high profile journalists and professionals.

    For these reasons I would give the campaign 4 out of 5.

    Hope the comments helped. I would appreciate it if you would follow my PR blog at

  4. Thank you Tom for your comment.

    Like you I also did think that 'The Butterfly Effect' was a great name to call the campaign it really showed what they were trying to achieve; that by doing something small it can make a big difference.

    I think that Pegasus Public Relations chose the butterfly conservation mainly because they felt that it did fit in with their campaign but also because it made the whole campaign very creative, and i think one thing a camapaign has to be to work is it has to be creative and i think this is another reason why they won a Gold award.

    I am now following your blog, and look forward to reading your posts!!