Polygon PR Case Study | Charity Awards | Downing Street | Polygon PR

The Fire Fighters Charity

The making of the Spirit of Fire Awards

The Fire Fighters Charity: Spirit of Fire Awards

Brief

The UK fire services’ charity had a modest internal annual awards ceremony, hosted in Bradford, with just 100 guests in attendance. The event was of exceptional importance, as it recognised those who had supported the charity over the year, but lacked any kind of external interest, which made media coverage and corporate funding impossible.

We were asked to make the event something special, increase corporate spending, and create a platform to communicate the charity’s message to the public.

Creative

We identified a public side to the awards; namely, the brave and heroic work fire fighters do every day.

We added in new fire fighter bravery categories, alongside two categories to recognise the adult and child members of the public who had done something of outstanding bravery. We also added in a celebrity award, focussed on the public figure who had done most to increase fire safety in the UK. By creating an equal number of new to legacy categories we made sure that the historic awards were respected as they ought to be.

Finally, we needed an iconic location to relaunch the awards, and so chose the home of a different kind of hero, Wembley Stadium.

Execution

With our event partner, we created a star-studded awards ceremony at the home of English football, with over 500 attendees walking the red carpet in black tie or fire service uniform, including every single influencer in the UK fire services.

Britain’s Got Talent’s Amanda Holden presented the awards, with a host of famous faces in attendance to present awards, including Gary Lineker, Boris Johnson, Alan Hansen, Philip Schofield, Fern Britton, Ray Wilkins, Jessica Hynes, Jane Moore, Caprice, Michael Aspel, Shane Lynch, Piers Morgan, and the fire services’ Minister, to name but a few. Meanwhile, Jeremy Vine collected the award for the media personality who had done the most to increase fire safety that year.

However, perhaps the most well received moment of the day came from a partnership we set up with Downing Street, where all nominees and their families, plus corporate supporters, were invited to Number 10, for a drinks reception hosted by the Prime Minister, who congratulated all of the nominees personally on their achievement.

Capturing the entire event, and indeed hosting the voting for some categories, was The Sun newspaper, who we sourced to become the official media partner of the event, which generated multiple double page spreads, including a pull-out special for the winners the following day.

Participating Celebrity Talent

Just some of the dozens of talent who have supported the awards so far:

Corporate Funding

We designed PR outcomes for potential corporate supporters, receiving corporate funding from telecommunications giants, O2 and Telent, generating a near six figure sponsorship for the charity.

Results

The revolutionised event didn’t just change the charity’s future, it instantly became the biggest date in the entire fire services’ calendar. The relationship with both corporate supporters and Downing Street was able to flourish, with the event becoming an annual fixture in three consecutive Prime Ministers’ diaries, and so far around 50 celebrities have showcased their support by presenting awards.

The Sun’s support, and that of other media, has created an outstanding platform for awareness, which directly showcases the charity’s purpose, and the media value of the event so far stands at well over £1 million.

Critically, for a charity that earns most of its income from the fire services itself, the important but not public-facing fundraising awards were not only respected, but actually enhanced by our changes.

Client Feedback

“Polygon PR is the best PR agency for charities that want to develop a celebrity following. They’ve made us famous, and turned us into a charity that A-list celebs want to support, whilst returning an outstanding ROI that makes them cost neutral. Their work on the Spirit of Fire Awards has changed the charity forever.”

Keith McGilivray, Chairman, The Fire Fighters Charity