The Ballymena Bear
Viral hit Christmas promotional film for Ballymena Town Centre. Over 100,000 online views.
Create a promotional film to encourage shoppers to come to Ballymena Town Center and do their Christmas Shopping. Also give a much need morale boost to the town which recently had announcements of huge job losses.
We needed to get people not familiar with the town talking about it, sharing the ad and importantly, coming to visit the town. So it needed to be something different, with viral appeal. Especially as there was a small promotional budget.
For our inspiration we looked to the big budget Christmas Ads: John Lewis, Sainsburys, Tesco etc. The ones with an engaging story that gets people sharing online.
We came up with a story about a little handmade bear that gets lost in the town over Christmas. He explores the town looking for his destined owner and is eventually reunited.
Why the bear?
When the character is something like a toy bear (something most had as a child) then we connect emotionally with that character through our eyes as children. Which is why there’s such a strong emotional impact when it’s lost, sad or frightened because we remember how that felt when we were that age.
It’s a simple story with some very deep themes. Purpose, hope, loss, love, fear, family.
Grown men were reduced to tears, children said it was the best thing since Frozen, within five days it was viewed by more than twice the population of the town and several online polls rated it the best Christmas Ad of the year.
Facts & Figures
- Over 65,000 YouTube views in 5 days
- Well over an estimated 100,000 views by Christmas
- Viewed in over 124 countries worldwide
- Front page mentions on local and regional newspapers
- Local TV news and radio features and interviews
- More requests for the Bear to make an appearance at Schools, Churches and Pantomimes than could be dealt with
- Used as a study tool in secondary school media classes
- Hundreds of requests from people worldwide to buy their own bear
- Numerous people online saying they will now shop in Ballymena
- Numerous anecdotal evidence of people traveling long distances to shop in businesses featured in the promo.
Local people were talking about it for weeks and there’s no doubt it helped give a local morale boost and increase the profile of the town. Footfall counters on the street showed better than expected (based on national trend) results.