National Trust for Scotland

  • The National Trust for Scotland wanted to drive membership and begin to overturn some negative perceptions about the brand 
  • They created a fun TV ad and they expanded the imagery on to various online platforms
  • They saw huge increases in online traffic
  • They almost doubled their target for new members
  • Research showed that people’s perceptions of their brand had changed for the better

The Challenge

Founded in 1931, the National Trust for Scotland is a conservation charity and membership organisation tasked with conserving and promoting Scotland’s heritage for future generations to enjoy. Their sites are incredibly diverse, representing many aspects of all Scottish heritage and culture, for example magnificent castles, beautiful gardens and wild mountain landscapes.

Market research conducted in 2012 showed that there were some negative perceptions about the NTS which was vastly different from the reality experienced by members and visitors. The challenge therefore was to turn these perceptions around and promote the NTS as:

  • Providing fantastic days out for the whole family
  • Offering great value for money
  • Giving a chance to learn something new in an enjoyable way
  • Welcoming and diverse

The key objectives were to recruit 2,200 new members, to target a younger demographic who are predominantly families, to promote their good value pricing and to reach a mass audience in an engaging and fun way.

The TV Solution

The NTS hadn’t been on TV for 8 years but they felt it would be the right medium with which to get back on to people’s radar. They needed a mass audience platform in order to reach new markets. They also felt that the emotive power of TV would be needed in order to tackle and overcome the deep-rooted negative perceptions.

They decided to focus their campaign on STV – partly because of the channel’s ability to reach viewers in Scotland but also because they could offer a fully integrated package including online activity and research.

They created an ad that they felt embodied the spirit and fun of NTS properties as well as the people who visit them. It was family friendly, vibrant and playful.

On air, the campaign ran for 3 weeks and had 75% peak airtime in order to reach as large a number of people as possible. They bought 325 adult ratings in programmes such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale, all Star Mr. & Mrs. and Michael Buble.

The airtime campaign was followed up with an on-air competition that showcased the brand and the NTS experiences to an audience who by now were feeling better disposed towards them. The competition ran for 3 days and was promoted on

In addition, they had online advertising on STV Player,, STV News and the STV mobile app. They ensured creative synergy and therefore maximised impact by using the characters from the TV ad on these sites, their own site and also their social media channels with a dedicated Twitter and Facebook campaign.  


  • They reached 53% of all adults in the STV transmission area with the spot campaign and 35% with the on-air competition
  • They recruited 4,256 members across the full campaign period – almost double their target. Of these, 65% were in the younger age categories and 51% were families
  • Web traffic across the whole site increased by 33% year on year
  • Membership specific traffic (i.e. visiting the join pages) was up 111% year on year
  • They gained 6,000 new followers on Twitter

In addition to these tangible results, it was also important that they had shifted the perception of NTS so they conducted a ScotPulse survey before and after the campaign. The results showed that there had been a significant improvement, particularly among families. For example

  • “Welcoming” – up 11%
  • “For everyone” – up 12%
  • “For me” – up 8%
  • Of the 20% who said that their opinion had changed after seeing the advert, 97% said that their view had changed in a positive way


Sector: Charity

Brand: National Trust for Scotland

Campaign objectives: To drive membership of a younger demographic and to challenge the negative perceptions of the brand

Target Audience: Families in Scotland

Budget: approx. £100,000 including airtime, production and STV’s online and mobile assets

Campaign Dates: The spot and digital campaign ran from 25th June to 15th July 2013 and the on-air competition ran from 22nd to 24th July.

TV Usage: 30 second spots

Creative Agency: STV Creative

Media Agency:  No agency used, booking made directly with STV



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