In ShoppingIdeas

Market Place Shopping Centre in Bolton has won another award, getting Gold at the ICSC Solal Marketing Awards, held on Thursday 8th June in Vienna, Austria.

The ICSC is the International Council of Shopping Centres and the Solal Marketing Awards recognise best practice and outstanding marketing performance in retail marketing across Europe and South Africa. Market Place was the only UK winner and won in the ‘Brand Awareness and (Re) positioning’ category – which rewards campaigns that have creatively changed customer perceptions – for their Mannequin Challenge. The campaign also received a special distinction award for the best result for a small budget (under €10k), meaning it will automatically go forward to the global 'Best of the Best' awards in Las Vegas next year.

In November 2016, Market Place’s marketing agency, A.L. Marketing, suggested the idea of creating a Mannequin Challenge – where people upload videos of themselves freezing for the camera (like mannequins), whilst Black Beatles, a song by American hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd, plays in the background. The trend was already a global social media phenomenon, with celebrities like Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Hillary Clinton and Adele taking part, so the opportunity to engage the local community and create stand-out for the centre was too great to miss.

Market Place was the first shopping centre in the UK to attempt a Mannequin Challenge featuring all of its retailers as well as members of the public – nothing of this scale had been attempted before. Their annual marketing budget was already spoken for, so implementing the concept required a lot of creativity. Keith Harris at Bolton FM helped find local students, Marcus Brooks and Aidan Scarborough, to produce the video, which they did for free. In fact, the entire cost of the campaign was just £50, which was used to boost the video when it was published on Facebook.

On the day of the challenge there was a footfall increase of 20.4% year on year. All 60 retailers took part alongside members of the public, who were encouraged to do whatever pose felt natural to them. The video featured the whole breadth of the centre to showcase the size, range of shops and unusual architecture, resulting in a finished product that was authentically and distinctly ‘Bolton’. The video hit 310,680 Facebook newsfeeds, got 168k views, generated 782 comments and 1,800 likes and led to a 9.5% increase in Facebook followers. The campaign was also featured in Property Week and won both a Purple Apple and an iconic Golden Apple at the Revo Purple Apple Awards in May.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris said, “We're delighted that Market Place has won another important award, and we are proud of their achievements. The Market Place continues to bring visitors and shoppers from Bolton and much wider to experience its unique mixture of shopping and leisure.”

Keith Harris from Bolton FM said, “This is a great example of how local partnerships can succeed and another example of Market Place and Bolton FM radio working together, following the recent Sing Bolton Sing contest in the centre.”

Nikki Wilson-Cook, Market Place Centre Manager said, “We’re so happy to get another award, particularly when we were up against some really impressive competition from Europe and South Africa. And I feel particularly proud to win in a category that acknowledges the way perceptions are changing for the better, both at Market Place and in Bolton as a whole. To also get the distinction and to be the only UK winner is the cherry on top! A special thanks to all of our tenants and customers that took part.”

To view the award winning video, head to:




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