Smashing Engineering Perceptions
13th November, 2020
Related News: Case Study
in 1964, The Who's Pete Townsend smashed his Rickenback guitar on stage. The event was voted as one of the top 50 moments that changed Rock & Roll by Rolling Stone.
Since then, countless artists have smashed instruments; from Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple to Paul Simonon of The Clash.
But what does guitar smashing have to do with engineering?
Global engineering company, Sandvik, wanted to drive brand awareness beyond its current customer and partner network. Sandvik is a well-established, high-tech global brand, founded in Sweden, however, its products and offering are often not widely accessible or easy to understand by people with little engineering knowledge.
- Launch Sandvik’s unbreakable guitar, by generating 52 clippings across ten countries and three vertical sectors in April and May 2019 (one clipping per €400 PR spend)
- Demonstrate the capabilities of additive manufacturing (AM) to those with and without prior engineering knowledge, by achieving 1,000,000+ views of the unbreakable guitar YouTube videos
- Increase global interest in Sandvik as a brand, demonstrated by the public’s response to the guitar’s videos
The idea, research and planning
Sandvik wanted to reach a global audience with an interest in technology, digital development and science, both in industry and future engineers and technologists. Primary research of Sandvik’s customer base found that those curious about technologies like AM were also interested in music — with 93 per cent of those surveyed ranking music as their popular culture preference. Using the research, Sandvik and Stone Junction identified four personas:
- Design engineers who’d consider using AM, who may or may not be aware of its full potential
- Those interested in a future career in engineering
- People who might want to partner with Sandvik as part of a creative project
- Families of engineers
With target audiences determined, the idea of combining technical curiosity with music led to the idea of the unbreakable guitar being born.
After producing the instrument, Sandvik needed to put its smash-proof ability to the test. Named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten greatest electric guitar players in the world, Swedish guitar player Yngwie Malmsteen was the perfect musician to test out its durability.
To communicate Sandvik’s engineering feat to the world, Stone Junction began by identifying key media markets:
- High profile trade publications with an interest in materials technology and design engineering, such as The Engineer, Engineering Technology, Design News, Develop3d
- Entertainment outlets, focusing on music and popular culture – e.g Gizmodo, Loudwire and Guitar World
- Business media with technology features, including Wired, Bloomberg and Tech Radar
We created a media database spanning Sandvik’s ten target countries (UK, US, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, South America and Russia) that covered each key media area.
We first approached warm media outlets that had previously covered Sandvik’s other video projects to maximise coverage opportunities. We enlisted Stone Junction’s in-house multilingual specialists to manage and communicate with journalists in their native language, wherever possible.
Stone Junction also identified several spokespeople for the project:
- Amelie Norrby – AM engineer
- Henrik Lokkanen – machining process developer
- Tomas Forsman – R&D specialist
Including Amelie Norrby meant that we were able to tap into the ‘women in STEM’ story, a popular theme in target media.
Based on our research, our strategy included:
- The official launch of the guitar to the media
- A UK-based media tour, allowing journalists to test the guitar themselves
Creativity & Originality
Swedish advertising experts, Forsman & Bodenfors, created a short hero-video and mini-documentary that reveals how Sandvik engineered the guitar. The video shows guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen playing and attempting to smash the guitar at a nightclub in Miami.
When launching the PR campaign for the project, we began with a teaser to the project a week prior to the official launch on 9/04/2019 to create media interest and intrigue. The content was tailored according to the recipient’s media sector.
The teaser to entertainment media focused on the rock star angle, whereas emails to the technology media concentrated on the AM story. At the core of all communication was the innovative, progressive and high-tech nature of both the project and Sandvik.
On launch day, Stone Junction implemented a variety of tactics to reach the media.
First, the press release and video link were distributed using the same directed focus for each of the target sectors. Once the content had hit people’s inboxes, Stone Junction proactively followed up with media across the world, in native languages where possible, to follow up and offer further information and opportunities for interviews.
This gave the media the opportunity to tailor the story for their audience. Stone Junction also used social media platforms to reach out to those tweeting about the campaign by searching for the #SandvikLetsCreate hashtag. This gave us the opportunity to gauge perceptions of the project, as set out in Objective 3.
- Research into famous guitar smashing and AM sector
- Identification of target audience and target media
- Preparation of media lists
- Organisation of media tour. Interviews secured with The Times, Eureka!, The Sun and the Daily Express
- w/c April 1
- Distribution of teaser email and video. Teaser emails were created so that they were bespoke to business, entertainment and trade media, with appropriate references to AM and rock music.
- Contact with UK journalists to schedule launch day interviews
- April 9
- Official global campaign launch, sharing access to full media toolkit and feature-length video content.
- Press release and video distributed internationally
- Series of journalists meetings across London
- Follow up outreach with global media contacts via telephone, email and social media offering exclusive content and interviews
- w/c April 15
- Continued follow up with media contacts to generate further media coverage
- Fulfilment of interviews and specific details relating to journalist queries.
- w/c April 29
- Launch of charity auction press release, covering the auction of the guitar itself, to UK/US media
Measurement and Evaluation
Objective one: Media Coverage
- 543 clippings (944 per cent above target)
- Ten print clippings
- 528 online clippings
- Online readership of 4.83 billion
- 11.2 million estimated coverage views
- Coverage on high visibility websites, including Loudwire
- €37.9 spent per clipping
- 27 countries reached (107 per cent above target)
- Coverage spanning the campaign's target sectors, including:
- 297 clippings across business and general media titles, Bloomberg.com (US), Tech Radar (UK)
- 113 clippings across entertainment media, including Loudwire (UK), Gizmodo (ES), Classic Rock (US), Techmundo (MX), Guitarpart (FR)
- 119 clippings across trade media titles, including The Engineer (UK), Equip'Prod (FR), Engineering and Technology (UK), Metal (IT) and the cover story of Engineering Materials (UK)
- 14 clippings in national and newsstand media across six countries, including The Times, Poland's Wyborcza, Wired and Italy's Corriere Della Sera
The campaign was featured on prime time television on leading public service TV in Italy, a feature documentary on a UK education channel as well as a six-minute-long section on prime time on one of the leading Japanese TV channels.
Objective two: Video Views
- Over 1,023,669 YouTube views across Sandvik's media assets
- 775,373 views on flagship video
- 248,296 views on in-depth, How it's Made video
- An additional 127,159 views on guitar influencer, Rob Chapman's, YouTube review
Objective three: Sandvik Awareness
- 108 backlinks to Sandvik’s website
- 267 comments on main project launch video. Comments across all videos included genuine praise and recognition of an engineering company’s unique approach to showcasing its capabilities.
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