Honest at the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show

Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show

For an agency that specialises in helping brands in the home and garden sectors, the Chelsea Flower Show – an incredible event which attracts attention from all over the world – is a highlight in our calendar. So when the RHS announced that the show was cancelled, despite pre-empting it was coming, we were still shocked and subdued.

The planning that goes into the show is phenomenal and we’d be working on campaigns since September. It is absolutely the right decision but our hearts went out to all the teams involved in the show that now wouldn’t be happening. When it was then announced that the show would still be taking place but in a new capacity of Virtual Chelsea, we were intrigued and excited that the amazing horticultural community would still be able to come together in some way to share the magic that is Chelsea.

Virtual Chelsea got announced as the new alternative, so we went back to the drawing board with all our PR plans and activity schedules trying to find a new way to ensure our clients still got maximum exposure. We switched to a digital focus and began an outreach campaign, built content libraries, arranged social media partnerships, created assets, arranged interviews and explored all avenues possible to get our clients in the heart of all online Virtual Chelsea conversations. All in the midst of a pandemic.

As normal the “show” kicks off on Monday next week. While we would normally be rushed off our feet, arriving at the showground very early in the morning to soak up the anticipation and excitement then spending the day running around arranging photocalls, interviews, TV filming and celebrity photoshoots on stand, this year it’s going to be a bit different! But perhaps just as busy!

For starters, on Sunday before it all begins, we’re launching a very special episode of The Plant Based Podcast. Director General of the RHS, Sue Biggs, one of leading names behind the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, is on the podcast discussing the new format and plans for the week. For the latest series of the podcast we’ve helped to line up some fantastic, high-profile guests from skincare and natural wellbeing expert, Liz Earle, to presenter of BBC Gardeners’ World, Mark Lane, and having Sue Biggs on the podcast for the Virtual Chelsea special adds to that list.

Next up, Vegepod has been announced as a finalist for the RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year award with its new Vegebag. We’ve known about this for some time but have had to keep it under our hats as we weren’t sure if the awards would still go ahead with the show being cancelled. We were thrilled when the Product of the Year was announced as part of the official Virtual Chelsea schedule.

The shortlisted products will be judged virtually by a panel of experts including Dragon’s Den investor Deborah Meaden and the winner will be announced on Monday. Then there will be a second category for the People’s Choice where voting is open all week.

Another of our clients, Oxenwood, knows the impact that being a finalist for Product of the Year at the show can have. Oxenwood creates stunning, luxury furniture and was a finalist for the award last year and has since seen nearly 200% growth in its turnover. The company attributes Chelsea as the starting point for this growth. We’ve got lots planned for Oxenwood next week to truly place the brand at the heart of conversations online about Virtual Chelsea, kicking off this weekend with a profile in Homes and Gardens magazine and putting Oxenwood in front of the title’s 300,000 Instagram followers.

Then comes the show gardens that we work with! Two of the biggest names at the show, and two of the must see exhibits, are those of Hillier and David Austin Roses. We are fortunate enough to have worked with both of them. David Austin Roses are world famous rose breeders, and for last year’s show we worked with the team there to help with BBC behind the scenes filming that aired during show week and caused so much demand that their website crashed! We spent a day dodging rain showers with Mary Berry filming a tour of the David Austin Roses nursery to find out exactly what goes into breeding a gold-medal worthy rose, and got a unique insight into how the BBC put together such extensive coverage of the show throughout the week.

Hillier is the world record holder for having the most consecutive gold medals at the show. With 74 already under their belt we had high hopes for a big year and a potential 75th. While we had big, big plans for how we would be spending press day on Monday and the rest of show week celebrating the company’s amazing heritage and phenomenal achievements, we’ll just have to save that for another year now!!

If all that wasn’t enough and you want to know more about how our work at the Chelsea Flower Show helps brands to raise their profile then check out the article that we wrote for Michael Perry, better known as Mr Plant Geek and the gardening expert on ITV’s This Morning, where we offered an exclusive sneak peek behind the scenes of Chelsea.

If you need us next week, instead of being on stand ready and waiting we’ll be the ones glued to our phones, Instagram feeds, laptops and TVs, lapping up as must Chelsea goodness as we can find!!