To mark 80 years since the start of The Blitz, family history brand Ancestry has launched a multi-channel campaign to tell untold stories from WWII and life during The Blitz.
Through the creation of 80 pieces of art work, all based on real-life stories from across the UK and involving a range of artistic mediums, the integrated campaign will be rolling out across Out of Home, Print, Digital, PR, Social Media, Influencers and on-site marketing from today.
Ancestry will also be transforming the giant Piccadilly Lights screen into the iconic, neon Piccadilly signage throughout history on 10th September. The 30-minute show will begin in 1949 when the lights were turned back on after WWII. The activation was devised by Anomaly, who won the first ever Ocean Outdoor competition to win a media spot on the world-famous London site.
The campaign, proposed by Ancestry’s UK PR agency Red Consultancy, is focused on a new collection of 80 pieces of art, available to view on Ancestry.co.uk/Blitz80, each newly commissioned and based on real-life stories discovered in wartime records on Ancestry. Inspired by the War Artists Advisory Committee (WAAC) which was established at the outbreak of World War II by the UK Government’s Ministry of Information, the collection brings to life the extraordinary ‘everyday’ lives and efforts of people all over the country whilst they lived and served on the home front.
UK Wide Integrated Campaign
The Blitz commemorative campaign will be rolling out across Out of Home, Print, Digital, PR, Social Media, Influencers and on-site marketing from Friday 4th September with media sites* showcasing the artworks around the UK going live on Monday 7th September to time with the 80th anniversary.
Media planning and buying was handled by the7stars who will also be overseeing multiple digital sheets in UK city centres showcasing the artworks as well as full pages running in regional newspapers including the Metro, Western Daily Press and Daily Record.
“To mark the 80th anniversary of the start of the Blitz, we’ve developed an integrated marketing campaign that powerfully brings to life the everyday lives and efforts of people all over the UK whilst they lived and served on the home front,’’ said Russell James, Marketing Lead, UK & Ireland at Ancestry. “We feel this activity builds on our previously successful World War II campaign work and we hope that it encourages people now to discover their connection to the Blitz and World War II.’’
Ancestry will also be transforming the giant Piccadilly Lights screen into the iconic, neon Piccadilly signage throughout history on 10th September. The 30-minute slot will begin in 1949 when the lights were first switched back on post World War II and end in the present day.
The content from Ancestry is true to each decade whereby historical images and archive footage of the lights from multiple angles were used to get references of what they once looked like. As a result, each type of signage from Bovril to the Schweppes fountain required a different treatment in the 3D render so that when people see the ads brought to life on screen it will look like the original.
The activation dovetails the wider Ancestry Blitz commemorative campaign and was devised by Anomaly who won the first ever Ocean Outdoor competition to win a media spot on the world-famous London site.
‘’Piccadilly Circus has long been one of the world’s most iconic advertising sites,’’ said Ben Robinson and Mike Whiteside, Anomaly. ‘’For one day only, we’re excited to bring back its most famous signs from years gone by. From the vintage Guinness Time clocks to the neon Coca-Cola signs, and even the classic Bovril and Schweppes fountain, we’re opening a window into Piccadilly’s past, just like Ancestry does for its users.’’
The following OOH home sites will be showcasing The Blitz artwork:
• Cardiff – Super Motion
• Manchester – The Screen @ Printworks
• Birmingham – The Screen @ New Street
• Southampton – The Screen @ West Quay
• Glasgow – The Screen @ St Enoch
• Plymouth – Drake Circus Shopping Mall
• Digital 6 sheets will also be seen in city centres in Bristol, Liverpool, Sheffield, Portsmouth, Coventry and London
Social Art Activity
Ancestry will also be commemorating The Blitz anniversary across their social channels supported by 1000heads and Social Chain, which includes influencer engagement from the art community and a unique campaign on Instagram highlighting how the air raids affected life across the UK through an interactive map. Going live on 5th September, the map will showcase individual stories of bravery and dedication to duty from everyday people and will be paired with the commemorative artworks in order to bring to life the experience of those living through this extraordinary moment in history.
Ancestry.co.uk hosts the UK’s largest online collection of family history documents with more than two billion UK records, helping people uncover the untold personal stories of World War II – from the home front to the front line. The new collection of World War II artwork also comes as Ancestry launches StoryScout, a new feature which allows users to create an engaging narrative of their ancestor’s life.
www.ancestry.co.uk/Blitz80. To access Ancestry’s records and discover untold personal stories from World War II, visit www.ancestry.co.uk. Keep up to date on social media by following #Blitz80.
Artists who produced artworks for The Blitz activity include:
• Danni Simpson, Belfast
• Liu Mengxia, Birmingham
• Luke Brookes, Staffordshire
• Andy Council, Bristol
• Anna Marrow, Bristol
• Nay Groves, Bristol
• Gareth Brown, Cardiff
• Matt Joyce, Cardiff
• Sam Dawson, Cardiff
• Harri Davidson, Cardiff
• Jenny Shufflebotham, Coventry
• Michael Snodgrass, Coventry
• Megan Menzies, Essex
• Katie Smith, Glasgow
• Greg McIndoe, Glasgow
• Jack Holland, Kent
• Chloe Hall, Leicester
• Sophie Green, Liverpool
• Katie Pinch, Liverpool
• Shana Lohrey, London
• Elliot Byrne, London
• Tom Cox, London
• Krystal Wong, London
• Adebayo Bolaji, London
• Nathan Bowen, London
• Joey Yu, London
• Alex Francis, Manchester
• Danielle Rhoda, Manchester
• Charlotte Leadley, Plymouth
• Scott Wilson, Plymouth
• Laura Crouch Portsmouth
• Ryan Mosley, Sheffield
• Amy Kate Wolfe, Swansea