The Brief

Launched in 2011, the Belfast Photo Festival (BPF) – a not-for-profit organisation –  is a major photographic event that attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year, celebrating some of the finest national and international contemporary photography across 30 museums, galleries and public venues. The Festival consists of exhibitions, talks, symposiums, workshops, screenings, masterclasses, portfolio reviews and tours.

The Approach

Tackling themes highly relevant to the population of NI – sexuality and gender – the 2017 BPF had the strongest messaging yet. It was clear we wanted to generate significant media coverage and to raise the profile of the festival to new heights, establishing it as a leading, reputable visual arts organisation in NI that didn’t shy from controversial topics, through traditional PR, excluding social media, on a budget of £1,100.

In planning the programme launch we developed a targeted invite list of key local, regional and national media, bloggers and influencers. Beyond its first use as a programme launch invite list, it then became in indispensable resource throughout the festival as a database for disseminating information on exhibitions and events.

Our strategy was to make as much noise as possible around the launch of the festival through a successful programme launch. Post programme launch, the strategy focused on three main areas; promotion of exhibitions, promotion of talks and raising the profile of the festival as a leading, reputable visual arts organisation.

The Outcomes

  • Overview: From 4th May – 16th June a total of 52 pieces of media had been secured. Two weeks of the festival still remained.
    • 15 print
    • 33 online
    • 4 broadcast
  • 90-second segment on UTV Live (28,360 viewers)
  • The Arts Show (BBC Radio Ulster) on two occasions (26.5k listeners)
    • 10-minute feature
  • Radio feature (Belfast 89FM)
  • Double-page spread interview in Irish Independent Weekend Magazine (486,000 readers)
  • Online coverage across 11 of Johnston Press’ weekly titles spanning the breadth of NI
  • Online feature gallery with The Irish Times

Independent of social media, which reached 1.8m via Twitter and Instagram alone as of 05/06/17 (based on tracking #BPF17 via, coverage from May 4th – June 16th resulted in excess 800,000 opportunities-to-see while remaining within the PR budget, allowing RMPR to continue festival promotion with additional print/online interviews scheduled for the arrival of British VOGUE Picture Editor Mike Trow.