Amy Kate Wolfe, Ancestry Blitz Artwork, 'Do Not Go Gently'

Challenge

Major historical anniversaries always inspire an outpouring of media coverage. The 80th anniversary of The Blitz in 2020 was no different - but how to cut through? 

That was the key question when Ancestry – the leading genealogy website – tasked us with using the 80th anniversary of The Blitz to engage people with their product.

We needed to find a way to not only compete in a crowded media space but make the anniversary relevant for consumers and ownable for Ancestry.

Insight

We’d learnt that at the outbreak of World War II, the War Artists Advisory Committee (WAAC) was established by the UK Government’s Ministry of Information to compile a comprehensive artistic record of Britain throughout the war.

Solution

Take the artistic records on Ancestry and bring them to life in a way that would give them contemporary relevance.

Our idea was to update this important collection of works in time for the 80th anniversary of the start of The Blitz with 80 new pieces, each inspired by a historical record from World War II available on Ancestry. 

Records and historical photographs from different regions across the UK affected by The Blitz were identified and paired with artists who offered fresh 21st century perspectives on some of the events experienced on the home front during World War II. Artists were paired with records or photographs from their local region to help make the activity more meaningful for them plus provide strong hooks for regional media.

 An online gallery of the new collection was launched on Ancestry.co.uk to showcase each piece of art with direct access to the record it was based on.

Anna Marrow Ancestry Blitz Art 'Extinguishing Fires'

Laura Crouch, Ancestry Blitz Art, 'Bathing On The Front Line'

Results

The launch of the collection was covered extensively in media and social media including interviews with Ancestry spokespeople and the contributing artists. Working with other agency partners, the campaign went beyond PR and was rolled out across out-of-home, print, digital and social media to help show how The Blitz was relevant to consumers, their family as well as their family history.

Overall, the campaign generated 800+ individual pieces of media coverage, delivered wide-ranging social media impact plus drove over 1.2m visits to Ancestry.co.uk. Those who engaged with the Blitz activity on Ancestry.co.uk were also more likely to convert to a 14-day free trial to Ancestry – a 75% improvement compared to pre-Blitz.

The ambitious campaign will see the art continue to be used across Ancestry’s World War II campaign.

800+ individual pieces of media coverage
Campaign Outcome
1.2m visits to Ancestry.co.uk
Campaign Impact
75% improvement in those more likely to convert to free trial
Campaign Impact
The Drum PR Awards – Most Effective Use of Creativity
Highly Commended

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The Blitz anniversary comms campaign that drove 1.2m visits to Ancestry.co.uk

Major historical anniversaries always inspire an outpouring of media coverage. The 80th anniversary of The Blitz in 2020 was no different - but how to cut through?

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Red Consultancy

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