Fishing News Awards 2017

Fishing News Awards 2017

The client 

The Fishing News Awards is the only awards ceremony dedicated to celebrating the hard work and dedication of British and Irish fishermen. Many fishermen have endured years of hardship through tough EU rulings and unwarranted criticism from NGOs, but fishing remains a vital industry for the UK and Ireland. As of 2017, there are 9,500 full time fishermen in the UK and 2,500 in the Republic of Ireland.


The objective 

The Fishing News Awards was resurrected in 2016 following a decade-long hiatus. We were tasked with promoting the awards programme in its first year and then growing this initial interest in 2017.

In particular, our 2017 objectives were focused on encouraging interest from the wider fishing community, largely through an increase in the number of nominees and votes, though also from social media engagement. We also aimed to secure greater media interest in this year’s event following a strong showing in 2016.

Overall, the aim was to celebrate the vital work of British and Irish fishermen and raise the profile of the industry.


What we did

Fishermen are often extremely modest about their own achievements so the awards had to be designed in a way to avoid triggering this response. In this way, we were set a unique challenge: how to celebrate the achievements of an industry that largely shuns the spotlight.

We actively targeted coastal areas, particularly those with a large number of people employed in the fishing industry, with a launch campaign designed to generate immediate interest and lead to nominations and, later, votes. In order to do this, we embarked on an intensive media relations campaign, creating and issuing localised press releases and liaising with journalists.

The awards categories were designed to cover a broad spectrum of the industry in order to encourage nominations from as many people as possible. In tandem with this, we worked with the client to appoint a recognisable awards host, Rory Bremner, to lend credence to the awards programme and encourage people to take part. We also worked with the internal client sales team to assemble attractive sponsorship packages to encourage further involvement from the wider fishing industry outside the catching sector.

To support the programme, we began a concentrated social media campaign targeted at fishermen and their families to encourage nominations. We then proceeded to initiate social media pre-promotion of the event, prioritising engagement with shortlisted companies/individuals using #FishingNewsAwards to spread the word.

Being no strangers to the maritime industry, we also worked with the Fishing News editorial team to develop a content strategy for the awards in the newspaper, including features on the reputational benefits of awards and external recognition, to help bolster entries.

The result 

Over our nine month campaign in support of the event, we secured 160 pieces of coverage across local, trade and broadcast media, more than doubling 2016’s results. Solely looking at press coverage, the campaign resulted in 660 opportunities to see or hear about the Fishing News Awards for every £1 spent.

The awards evening itself was very well received, with many attendees praising the ceremony for shining a spotlight on their industry.

Most importantly, we were able to give fisherman the recognition that they deserve for all their hard work over the years, with the previous number of nominations for the awards almost trebling, rising from 180 in 2016 to almost 500 in 2017. This increase coincided with the vast rise in the number of votes, from 2,611 in 2016 to 5,193 in 2017.