Dr. Martens Brighton launch party: a PR perspective

June 18, 2013 7:54 pm Published by

“Dream big.”

That was the advice offered by Fugu PR founder, Vicki Hughes, when planning the launch party for the new Brighton Dr. Martens store.

A creative carte blanche is a dizzying prospect for any PR project. There were of course key boxes to tick: commission an artist for an in-store installation, sign up local bands, book a venue and source a video crew to document the whole thing.

But these were just the bare bones of the project. Here’s a look at the layers of creative flesh, planning and PR brainstorming that helped to give birth to the beast that was Dr. Martens Brighton, 2013.

Juice Radio presenters Andrea Fox, Hanna Neter and Nats Spada

Guest list

The invite list was crucial for transforming a great party into a valuable PR exercise. The final RSVP list of ‘Brighton influencers’ featured the likes of local record labels (Melting Vinyl, Skint Records), regional and national fashion bloggers, venue owners (The Green Door Store) and local media (The Argus, Juice Radio).

Total attendees: 90 +

Venue

Key challenges

The DM store has capacity for 30 max. Not nearly enough space for the live bands, DJs, drinks sponsors and entertainment we had planned.

The solution

Host the event over 2 venues, whilst maintaining a fluid, natural flow to the evening.

How it worked

The night kicked off at 6pm in the new Dr. Martens store (15b Prince Albert Street). On arrival guests were handed a cocktail from drinks sponsor Tuaca and a raffle ticket (the winner received a pair of classic 1460 cherry reds).

In-store at 15b Prince Albert Street

In-store at 15b Prince Albert Street

Latest DM products were all available to guests at 50% off

Raffle prize winner Josh Boyd

Drinks sponsor Tuaca

In-store guests were treated to tunes from local DJ Eddie Goatman and a sample of the latest DM merchandising ranges. With a 50% discount, the night saw the highest launch night sales in the brand’s history.

Live in-store art took place in the form of boot calligraphy by local artist The Screen Prince. The finished pair now take pride of place on the store till, just a few metres in front of his specially commissioned in-store installation.

Customised boots by The Screen Prince

In-store art by The Screen Prince

Check out this video by Brighton production team SeeThat about the making of the artwork:

Following a quick stop at the DM Van and photo booth, guests then followed their feet up the road to venue no. 2: The Mesmerist. The upstairs space renowned for rockabilly, swing nights and live music provided the perfect mix of quirky entertainment and a bustling atmosphere.

Live Music

From its subcultural punk roots to their modern day festival presence, live music is at the heart of the Dr. Martens brand.

We were tasked with signing two up-and-coming local bands to perform on launch night. Our selections were:

Abi Wade

At 7:30pm songstress Abi Wade kicked things off with a 30 min set.

“But most of all it sounds like nothing we’ve heard before. And that’s why Abi Wade is so exciting. She’s really made that cello her own.” – James Kendall, The Source

The Physics House Band

At 9pm experimental 3-piece outfit, The Physics House Band filled the second slot.

“It’s impossible to talk about The Physics House Band without commenting on just how talented all three members are… they’re one of the most exciting and interesting bands Brighton has to offer” – Spindle magazine.

Other entertainment

Attention to detail was key to providing a lineup of fresh and fun activities. Entertainment included:

Rockabilly haircuts from the Mesmerist in-house barber

DM ‘tattoos’ by artist Emma Hirst

Brighton seaside menu, including a Dr. Martens inspired gelato bar

The end result

While the proof is arguably in the coverage, here at Fugu we’re satisfied the night met and surpassed the high DM standards. Not only did we produce a hyper local, on-brand celebration of all things Brighton – at the end of the day we also pulled off one hell of a party.

Launch night coverage

The Argus 

Pretty Litter

Hooting Miss Owl

Sarah Loves

Brighton Style Memos

Vintage Brighton 

Vintage Vessel 

Brighton Fashion Week

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This post was written by Alice Johnson