Making waves out of season in a challenging market

The Wave is an exciting new inland artificial surfing lake, which offers adrenaline fuelled Bristol-ions, and anyone willing to jump into something new with an opportunity to catch a perfect wave all year round! After proving to be a huge success upon launching in October 2019, plans for a London site are underway for 2021.

The Wave’s purpose is to bring surfing to the wider population, fully inclusive of all ages and abilities. However, bringing a broad audience of traditionally ‘non-surfing’ types to an unheated surf lake to surf all year round, with a launch out of season is a big challenge.

Objectives:

  • Introduce surfing to people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities
  • Achieve annual visitor numbers ‘lagoon hours’ from launch to the end of 2020
  • Drive online ticket sales, group bookings and walk-up tickets

We began with extensive audience research to feed into our media & creative planning. Using persona data as a base, we built on these with further research into media consumption and brand discovery. This showed two key audience targets who spanned all abilities from experienced surfers through to those who have never surfed, ‘Experience Seekers’ and ‘Family Focussed’. These insights fed into our creative proposition and media planning for launch.

Our overall creative platform extols the benefits of surfing on well being, the fun it brings and the health benefits you can achieve. Our tone is positive and inclusive as we ask people to #findyourwave. Our media selection focuses on reaching our audience in the environments that matter to them. 

Activity began supporting ‘Early Rider’ signups (giving people access before The Wave is open to the general public) and post-launch surf slot bookings.

To support these goals, we have been managing PPC and Paid Social campaigns in Facebook and Instagram.

As we move towards launch, our campaign activity has expanded to our core audiences of ‘Experience Seekers & Family Focused’ across digital channels and offline. Out of Home (OOH) around drive-time corridors into Bristol, Bristol train stations, bus & taxi adverts, as well as train card panels on trains into and out of Bristol. We are advertising in regional press and magazine titles that hit our target audience, running radio competitions & commercials on Heart regionally and experiential marketing activations (such as street art stencils across Bristol town center pavements), with all creative assets and media placements managed by us.

Results

  • Exceeded our Early Rider target of 11,000 by 47%
  • Exceeded our revenue target by 25%
  • Exceeded our post-launch surf slots by 200%