The return of Spongebob
How to make the most of a sad event and get a warning message across
On the night of 17 July 2006, one of Chessington’s Squirrel Monkeys – Spongebob – was stolen from his enclosure.
A national media campaign was immediately put into action, resulting in a huge amount of coverage in the national, regional and local press, as well as broadcast and online media. Spongebob was returned to Chessington three days afterwards, after a member of the public recognised him from a full page appeal in the Metro Newspaper.
This resulted in another round of national, regional, local and even international press, as well as a large amount of broadcast and online media. In order to sustain the apparent interest in Spongebob, and to keep those interested up to date on how he was getting on, Chessington decided to introduce several PR stories to continue to keep the story in the news.
This included a ‘SpongeBlog’ on the Chessington website, which detailed the adventures of the monkey and kept wellwishers updated. Again, this was picked up by most media. In addition, ‘Monkey Minders’ were introduced to the Monkey & Bird Garden area, resulting in local coverage.
When Spongebob unfortunately had to be moved to another Zoo following issues with settling back in after his ordeal, further media attention was received, mostly based on his SpongeBlog. Luckily, the man who stole Spongebob was caught by police as they found his DNA on site. Again, a press release was issued about the impending court case, as well as one when he was found guilty, resulting in another wave of publicity continuing into 2007.
Chessington World of Adventures
COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Awards 2007 for Best public relations project