The market town of Sherborne, Dorset is no stranger to fame and fortune as it was once the capital of Wessex and in the late sixteenth century attracted the attention of Sir Walter Raleigh who initially acquired the now ruined 12th century Old Castle but then decided to commission Sherborne Lodge in 1594 which later became the New Castle.
It has been acknowledged as having one of the Top Ten High Streets in the UK and in 2013 was the location for the filming of two Hollywood films released in 2014.
Case Study: PR on a Tight Budget!
With local and town councils under considerable pressure to make spending cuts, there is very little budget available for marketing and PR. Here is what happened when we were given a very small budget of just £1,000.
A Head for PR was approached by Sherborne Tourism Forum in 2014 to see whether we could help position Sherborne in Dorset as the West Country’s film hot-spot.
In a campaign that would span one year, Sherborne Town Council set the objectives as raising awareness of Sherborne as a tourism destination nationally, regionally and locally using its popularity as a filming location for three block-buster films released over the previous 12 months
This is how we went about our campaign:
- Prepared press releases and distributed to local, national and international media on each individual film and the generic logic as to why Sherborne is popular with film-makers;
- Sourced relevant photography to accompany the releases;
- Worked with key tourism providers and locations in and around the Town
- Planned schedule of media activity during the release of these films;
- Used social media plan to support the release of these films
- Pitched to national media, prepared media itineraries and hosted press visits for two national journalists
- Worked with National Trust, Fox Searchlight Production Company, to maximise opportunities
Outcomes: Coverage in Daily Express (Top 10 Things to do in Sherborne), double page spread in Woman magazine, Woman’s Own, Sunday Independent, Dorset magazine, Dorset Life, Western Gazette, Wales Online, West Country magazine. We also engaged with social media and reposted online coverage wherever possible.
Roger Johnson who was Chair of Sherborne Tourism Forum at the time commented, “It's all about finding the right story angle and A Head for PR has used imagination and creativity to generate interesting aspects of Sherborne that tie in with wider themes of regional and national significance.
“In this brief, different stories were generated tying in with each of three films shot in Sherborne, timed to coincide with the films’ openings. Working with a fairly small budget, A Head for PR has sought out the most useful connections and partners to make the budget work harder. We plan to build on the solid work that has already been achieved and nurture the contacts being developed by A Head for PR.”
Press Releases for Sherborne
Sherborne punches above its weight as tourism businesses scoop double Gold & Silver at Dorset Tourism Awards 2017
The market town of Sherborne, Dorset proved it’s streets ahead when it comes to winning tourism awards as it celebrates after receiving confirmation of its tourism “wow” factor. The Dorset Tourism Awards saw three Sherborne tourism businesses in and around the town receive two Golds and Silver at a ceremony held on 16 November at The Lighthouse, Poole. The Awards follow hot on the heels of Sherborne’s success in another national ceremony when it scooped a Silver Gilt Award in the RHS Britain in Bloom competition
Release Date: 21st November 2017
Sherborne celebrates romance of Sir Walter Raleigh with special walk & new biscuit and sour dough from Town’s oldest bakery
The historic town of Sherborne is celebrating Valentine’s Day with the introduction of a very special biscuit and a new “Walking with Walter” Blue Badge Walk to mark its connections with Elizabethan explorer and Queen Elizabeth 1’s beloved courtier, Sir Walter Raleigh.
Release Date: 2nd February 2017
Sherborne cruises into record books as international visitors from European liners head for Castles and Town
International visitors to Sherborne are up by almost a third this year according to the Sherborne Tourism Information Centre. This is down to a combination of coaches from the nearby port of Portland which include Sherborne on their itineraries for cruise liners and coach parties from countries including Germany, the Netherlands and France. Rick Drake, Shore Excursion Manager from European Cruise Service UK, said that this summer around 15 coach loads of German cruise passengers had visited Sherborne and absolutely loved it.
Release Date: 14th September 2016
Visitor numbers are blooming for Sherborne this summer!
The small Dorset town of Sherborne is looking forward to receiving a record number of visitors this summer on account of its green fingers! With its Hidden Gardens scheme, the Castleton Wildlife Garden, two public gardens which are free and open daily, the Sherborne in Bloom contest and the stunning grounds of two castles, there is much to appreciate.
Release Date: 9th May 2016
A Walk around Sherborne brings History to Life (and the odd ostrich!)
Sherborne Tourism has uploaded a new video that gives an insight into some of Sherborne’s historic heritage. https://youtu.be/5UhMBkYxU9E There can be few small towns which can boast a history that embraces two castles, a Benedictine Abbey including the last resting place of at least two Saxon kings, a 15th Alms house, a world famous 16th century public school and hundreds of fascinating tales and gossip, not to mention the odd ostrich or two.
Release Date: 23rd March 2016
Sherborne Christmas brings music to your ears!
The sound of music will be filling the Dorset market town of Sherborne this Christmas as a whole range of musical events and festivities scheduled through December create the right note for attracting shoppers and visitors to this popular location.
Release Date: 11th November 2015
Sherborne tourism businesses win Gold, Silver and Bronze at Dorset Tourism Awards 2015
The market town of Sherborne, Dorset is celebrating this week as it received confirmation of its tourism “wow” factor with several of its tourism businesses in and around the town receiving major accolades in the Dorset Tourism Awards held on 15 October at Bovington Tank Museum. Country house hotel The Grange at Oborne walked away with the Gold award for Best Small Hotel, closely followed by the elegant, Georgian Eastbury Hotel in the heart of Sherborne which received Silver for the second year running.
Release Date: 19th October 2015
Sherborne goes to Town as it marks the 75th Anniversary of World War 2 Town Bombing
The historic market town of Sherborne in Dorset is marking the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the town with a number of fascinating and informative events, including a Yeovil-built Seafire* flypast and a memorial service to commemorate those who lost their lives on 30th September 1940. A special booklet written by retired Westland employee Jim Schofield has been produced which explains the background to the bombing and how the main target for the raid was the Westland Yeovil factory where a total of 685 Spitfires and 1375 Seafires would be built during the Second World War.
Release Date: 22nd September 2015
Dorset Town Sherborne reveals why it’s such a popular location for Hollywood
As the much anticipated Thomas Vinterberg adaptation of Hardy’s fourth novel and first major literary success Far From the Madding Crowd opens in cinemas on 1 May, Dorset town Sherborne is eagerly awaiting the arrival of visitors keen to visit some of the film locations in the town.
Release Date: 28th April 2015
New Sherborne videos launched to coincide with release of blockbuster Hollywood film
Dorset market town Sherborne has just launched three new videos to support the marketing of the Town and to help businesses make the most of the publicity and attention that is likely to come from the release of Hollywood film Far from the Madding Crowd (due for release on 1 May 2015), which was partly filmed in and around Sherborne.
Release Date: 5th March 2015
Sherborne celebrates as release of Benedict Cumberbatch’s new film puts town firmly in the spotlight!
Dorset historic town, Sherborne, is celebrating its new found fame as Benedict Cumberbatch’s new film, The Imitation Game, goes on general release on 14 November 2014. The film features Sherborne School as the set for the biopic film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Second World War code breaker Alan Turing. Turing attended Sherborne School from 1926 and film crews were at the school in November 2013 filming scenes depicting his boyhood years. Dominic Elliott, mayor of Sherborne during the filming, commented on the impact of the film crew and the interest in the town.
Release Date: 13th November 2014
Is Dorset town set to become the new “Hollywood” for film-makers in 2015?
The historic Dorset town of Sherborne has a starring role in two potential block buster films and a new BBC series in the next 12 months. The impending release of The Imitation Game at the beginning of November is whispered to be a contender for Best Picture and features Sherborne School as the set for the biopic film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Second World War code breaker Alan Turing. Turing attended Sherborne School from 1926 and film crews were at the school in November 2013 filming scenes depicting his boyhood years.
Release Date: 2nd October 2014
Hollywood gives Sherborne added Christmas sparkle and a starring role in 2014
This Christmas visitors to Sherborne, a historic market town on the Dorset/Somerset border, may notice something different in the air. 2013 has been a remarkable year with Sherborne starring as the setting for not one but two Hollywood films set to be blockbuster hits in 2014: A-lister stars Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen appear in “Far from the Madding Crowd” with scenes filmed around Sherborne’s 8th century abbey while Benedict Cumberbatch appears as the code-breaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”, with scenes set in the 460 year old Sherborne School.
Release Date: 25th November 2013
“It's all about finding the right story angle and A Head for PR has used imagination and creativity to generate interesting aspects of Sherborne that tie in with wider themes of regional and national significance. In this brief, different stories were generated tying in with each of three films shot in Sherborne, timed to coincide with the films’ openings. Working with a fairly small budget, A Head for PR has sought out the most useful connections and partners to make the budget work harder. We plan to build on the solid work that has already been achieved and nurture the contacts being developed by A Head for PR."