Giant's Causeway 'Sleeping Giant'

A magical reason to visit the Giant's Causeway during the Winter months...

Traditionally, National Trust sees a reduction in visitor numbers to the Giant's Causeway during off peak periods, namely the autumn and winter months. Our brief was to address this by giving families a reason to travel to the Causeway. The goal was to create a narrative to engage with our family audience, instilling a sense of adventure and inspiring them to discover something new.

The creative idea centred on reports that the mythical giant Finn McCool had been caught on camera, reportedly heading into a cave in the Causeway cliff face to hibernate. Marc Mallet, one of our most recognisable news presenters, would break the 'news' live from the Causeway, a play-by-play account as this incredible story unfolded.

In order to seed this story and make it 'believable', shaky mobile phone footage allegedly captured by a passer-by of Finn going into hibernation was posted organically on Facebook & Twitter. A follow up 'news report' in the afternoon presented by Marc Mallet, again shared organically, only served to further fuel engagement with the campaign.

But this was not purely an online experience. It was vital to link the offline experience at the Causeway to harness the excitement the online video content was creating. To do so, a special audio trail and activity pack was developed to help structure the on-site experience, as well as a giant sign (built by Finn of course!) warning of the presence of a sleeping giant. Within the visitor centre kids could post messages to Finn via a giant post box or look through a peep hole to see the sleeping Finn and his giant snoring.

However, as with any creature that goes into hibernation, there comes a time when Finn had to wake up and so he did with as big a bang as when he went into hibernation. Again this moment was captured on video and spread far and wide on social media.

The activity performed better than we could have ever hoped for. Key social media metrics for both videos demonstrate the huge virality, reach and engagement of the activity:

Teaser Mobile Phone Video Metrics

  • 4,000 views, 50 shares & 200 likes in just 15 minutes
  • On completion of the activity, this video had 812,000 views, garnered over 9,000 likes, was shared 13,000 times with almost 2,000 comments.

News Report Metrics

  • At 3 hours, 148,000 views, reach of over 40,000, over 8,500 reactions, comments & shares
  • After one week, this video had been viewed 568,000 times with 6,200 likes, 6,700 shares with 2,100 comments
  • The reach of this activity was exceptional, in excess of 7 million users.

The level of earned media and positive PR achieved surpassed expectations:

  • Tourism bodies such as Tourism Ireland in India, Spain, USA and GB reported the story, publishing it via their own social channels.
  • The success of the activity was evident when a number of other prominent outlets picked up the 'news', including the Irish Independent - and Belfast Telegraph -

Given the campaign reach, it's difficult to put a media value on what the activity achieved, but it is significant, estimated at upwards of £100,000, all achieved with a media spend of zero. The activity also had a positive impact on visitor numbers despite extremely poor weather conditions.

So watch this space, Finn is starting to look a little tired and it's only a matter of time before he's ready for his big sleep once again.