WORKSHOP: Case Study - ChildLine orders the cows to parade

CLAIRE SAMES

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Background: CowParade is a travelling art event that started in New York around four years ago.

ChildLine's fundraising manager Michael Baim spotted the painted fibreglass cows when he visited the US in 2000 and made a request for the event to visit London to raise money for the charity, which provides a 24-hour helpline for children and young people.

The request was granted and, soon after, Zebra Sponsorship & Marketing was appointed to manage the event in London.

Aims The exhibition was scheduled to hit the city in the height of summer and run for three months. The objective was to raise as much money as possible for ChildLine at a gala auction later in the year.

Zebra had to ensure that 170 cows were positioned in high-profile areas in the capital and so needed to liaise with local authorities, police, residents, local businesses and London Underground to secure prime spots. The agency had to organise transport, storage and studio space for the cows, as well as keep in regular contact with the artists. Edelman Public Relations was appointed to handle the media coverage.

How it worked CowParade London 2002 was one of the most unusual events to hit the city this summer.

Storage space equating to 15,000 sq ft had to be found in central London to house the cows and various companies were approached to donate the space.

Several meetings were set up with the planning, highways and special events departments of each relevant borough in order to secure full planning permission for the sites where the cows would take up temporary residence.

An artist management team was also established by ChildLine and Zebra to distribute the cows across the country for decoration. Artists who did not have their own studio were offered space in one of several central venues secured through sponsorship deals.

A press call took place on the morning of the 17 June using a herd of 25 cows to highlight the need for exhibition space. Following the coverage, more than 120 cows, each weighing 500 lbs, were sited within 48 hours.

Another publicity stunt featured a painted cow in the style of the 19th century Dutch artist Albert Cuyp, which was positioned outside the National Gallery during an exhibition of his work.

Before obtaining permission from London Underground to run the exhibition, the agency had to spend 10 months overseeing the development of a special substance to produce cows that would meet the Underground's high safety standards.

In addition, some damage to the artwork was anticipated and so a volunteer force called the "Cow Care Committee" was recruited to handle maintenance.

Results CowParade London 2002 culminated in a grand finale with a gala auction hosted by Sotheby's Olympia with the bulk of the proceeds going to ChildLine.

More than 1,500 guests attended the auction, including Lord Heseltine who purchased two of the cows. All the cows were sold and the highest price paid was £11,000.

More than £250,000 was raised for ChildLine, which is the highest amount ever for a charity auction at Sotheby's UK.

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