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Hewlett-Packard: Preserving Bletchley Park Archives

SABRE 01 Sep 2011

How a highly unusual „value in kind? sponsorship, focused on saving some of the nation’s most important historical archives, transformed the dry topic of document management solutions into a major national news story, at zero media spend.

The Challenge

Although the Document Management business is of huge strategic importance for HP, the company’s market share and awareness level in the UK is relatively low and lacks compelling case studies.
The topic is also perceived as dry, and this makes generating quality media coverage very difficult.

The Opportunity

Bletchley Park (BP) is a hugely important national and global heritage site, with the decryption activities which took place there during WWII credited with shortening the War by two years.

HP donated a state-of-the-art scanning and document management solution including HP scanners, server, storage and PCs to allow the Park to digitise its archive of 1,000,000 genuinely world changing documents, (inaccessible to the public) and make it available for the world to view and search.

HP and BP launched the partnership and digitisation project on the 66th Anniversary of D-Day with the objective of making document management an exciting national story; creating a positive association between HP and BP; and positioning HP as a leading Document Management Solutions (DMS) provider.

The Strategy

The agency spotted the opportunity to partner with BP on this unique project to provide the ultimate case study for the company’s latest DMS technology.

BP’s status as a national and global heritage site also provided a strong and passionate supporter base to tap into.

The complexity of the project and the significant challenges involved (wartime paper not being renowned for its durability nor quality), meant that this could become the ultimate example of HP solutions? agility and technical ability in the DMS market, and a perfect opportunity to test new technology solutions to the limit.

To ensure high quality coverage, it was decided to award a series of non-competing exclusives to key media at the launch, from which other media outlets would pick content and create their own coverage.

By hosting these exclusives on-site and targeting media which we knew had a personal interest in BP enabled the story to focus on the archives as the „hero? whilst positioning HP as the enabler –thus giving a balanced, nationally important news story.

The Campaign Roll-Out

Social media responses:
“Historians of the future owe a debt of gratitude to Hewlett-Packard”
“Excellent news and big thanks to HP for helping it happen”
“Such an exciting project and all gratitude to HP.”
“A HUGE thank you to HP setting the bar for others in the IT industry to invest in their heritage”

The National exclusive was arranged with The Times –with associate editor, Ben Macintyre, who has written books on the activities at the Park and is a renowned enthusiast. Other non-competing exclusives went to the BBC News team; Sky News; Channel 4; Press Association; and the IDG news network, which would increase the IT / technology element of the project. These were timed to coincide with the 66th anniversary of D-Day to give salience to the announcement –and by falling on a weekend, minimise the risk of the news agenda being hijacked.

By having quality exposure on Press Association and IDG news network, other titles were able to repurpose content easily without being accused of plagiarism. At the end of the launch day, nearly 30 individual high quality editorial pieces had appeared on national newspaper, current affairs and technology news sites.

Local radio stations and news outlets were briefed during the day of the announcement to increase local awareness –a key deliverable for the Park who rely on visitor numbers, helpers, and regional awareness for its revenue and support.

Subsequent opportunities have also taken the exclusive route, with a BBC feature on 27 Jan becoming the most viewed news story on the website.


?Total AVE of over $375,000 achieved with no media spend or press release
?10broadcast pieces, attracting 15m+ TV and 25m+ radio audiences
?30+ national and online coverage
?98% HP messaging cut through
?A major UK utilities supplier and several Not-For-Profit organisations contacted HP to ask for document management solutions
?The Times? multimedia online feature developed into an internal News International case study on making best use of the pay-wall and premium content
?Bletchley Park website saw nearly 250,000 visitors for the first time in its history, triple its daily average
?BBC feature in Jan was most viewed story online

“This has been our most successful week for media coverage since the Trust was established eighteen years ago.” Simon Greenish, Director, The Bletchley Park Trust

Social media responses:
“Historians of the future owe a debt of gratitude to Hewlett-Packard”
“Excellent news and big thanks to HP for helping it happen”
“Such an exciting project and all gratitude to HP.”
“A HUGE thank you to HP setting the bar for others in the IT industry to invest in their heritage”


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Sophie @Sophie

RT @DeilNesai: Congrats to CEO @bando_Josh for being named to the 2014 @holmesreport #innovator 25! http://t.co/HhxLjl20m6

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Alex Lee @Alex Lee

Karen Quintos from Dell included in 2014 Innovator 25 #Iwork4Dell http://t.co/IVrICHpGpe

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BM_Colombia @BM_Colombia

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Allison+Partners @Allison+Partners

We are thrilled to be on the @holmesreport annual ranking of creative excellence list. http://t.co/A9bmSInkkk

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tom gregorski @tom gregorski

Cool to know 2 on the list The Innovator 25: Andrew Bowins @MasterCardAndy http://t.co/5I6vttNpFM via @holmesreport

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tom gregorski @tom gregorski

The Innovator 25: @KarenDellCMO @dell http://t.co/wVHi1rlOw1 via @holmesreport

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