Thought Bubble is one of the UK’s biggest comic arts festivals and offers visitors an unforgettable insight into the world of comics and superheroes.

Taking place annually in Leeds, the festival encompasses eight days of events at sites across the city and culminates in a two-day convention weekend, which includes appearances from a host of big name guests, one of the UK’s largest cos play masquerades and the British Comic Awards – an annual celebration of the best comics and graphic novels created in the UK.

The festival is run by a not-for-profit organisation – with all profits being donated to Barnardo’s – so budgets are tight. However, for the 2014 festival, the eighth in its history, the Thought Bubble team decided to hire a PR agency to help increase awareness of the festival in the increasingly crowded UK comic con market.

After a three-way pitch process, Content Soup was appointed to raise the profile of the festival regionally and nationally, increase ticket sales and attract audiences who might not have considered attending a comic arts festival before.

What we did:

We carried out a highly targeted two-pronged media relations campaign, focusing on the festival itself and Lisa Wood, the festival’s founder and director who has a really interesting story.

Work began in June and we worked hard to secure profile pieces for Lisa, which would help raise awareness of the festival and increase ticket sales.

We also worked with Leeds’ biggest lifestyle publication, City Talking, to create a special Thought Bubble-focussed edition, complete with artwork from Lisa and interviews and photo shoots with key festival guests and Cos Players.

The national media was then targeted heavily in the run up to the festival, to ensure the event was covered in key listings pages and in culture guides and programmes.

We also partnered with key Leeds-based organisations, including Trinity Leeds and Leeds & Partners, to ensure the festival was promoted in key city centre locations and websites.

Results:

In total we generated over 40 pieces of high profile national and regional coverage, which reached over 17m people and generated an AVE (advertising value equivalent) of well over £100,000. More importantly, our work resulted in increased ticket sales and the busiest festival yet, and the client was so happy that we’ve already been appointed to do the PR for next year’s festival.

Key coverage highlights included:

– An interview slot on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme

– National articles in The Guardian, The Times, Shortlist, Design Week and the Sunday Mirror

– A special Thought Bubble themed edition of City Talking, Leeds’ largest and most respected lifestyle title, plus extensive online coverage on its website

– Inclusion in Emerald Street, Stylist’s weekly what’s on email

– Presence on Trinity Leeds Shopping Centre’s in-centre screens and what’s on website section

– Presence on Visit Leeds’ website

– 2 full page dedications in the Yorkshire Evening Post

– The big interview in the Yorkshire Post’s Saturday Magazine

– Extensive coverage on Leeds List

– An exclusive interview piece on Nerd Like You

– Key regional, online and blogger coverage

Here’s what our clients had to say:

“Thanks so much for everything, you’ve been absolutely awesome – we’re so happy with the coverage you’ve got us. It’s been really impressive and really helped increase ticket sales.” Martha Julian, festival manager

Thanks so much for all your help – you’ve been amazing and we’ve loved working with you! Can we do the same next year?” Lisa Wood, festival director