Third Sector Awards 2017: Marketing Campaign of the Year - RHS Campaign for School Gardening for Rocket Science

Third Sector Promotion Markel

Awarded to the best charity marketing campaign of the year. Examples might include the successful marketing of an organisation's products, services or membership programmes, or the use of affinity marketing

What was the aim?

Rocket Science was a partnership between the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency. Both organisations shared the same goal: to inspire young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and encourage them to believe in their own abilities as scientists.

What did it involve?

One million seeds were sent into space, where they were later joined by the British astronaut Tim Peake as he began his six-month mission on board the International Space Station. When the seeds returned they were sent to 8,600 schools alongside a different colour packet of identical seeds that had remained on Earth. Schools were asked to grow the seeds and predict which colour packet contained the space seeds. Rocket Science was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2015, with more than 10,000 delegates visiting the stand. Using online and offline marketing tools, the RHS created a community of more than 600,000 young people. Media coverage included a message to schools from Peake from the ISS.

What did it achieve?

The press coverage reached 184 million people with an advertising-equivalent value of £2.05m. A post encouraging schools to sign up received more than 2,300 shares and 9,400 likes, and a video of Peake on the ISS received more than 20,000 views. Post-campaign research found that pupils were inspired to continue or start studying science. 

What did the judges say?  

"A fantastic, clever, innovative and unique marketing campaign, which has achieved amazing results and reached an astonishingly high number of young people," said Emma Woods Bolger, assistant director at the Community Foundation for Calderdale.


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