On the Afsluidijk with Daan Roosegaarde

How do you create a successful launch of a new iconic project in a very short amount of time?

The challenge

In the coming years, the Afsluitdijk (a major causeway, and part of the Zuiderzee dam) will be made future-proof, renovated and reinforced. Minister Schultz van Haegen grasped the opportunity to promote the value of the dike as an icon and global showcase of Dutch hydraulic engineering, innovation and Dutch Design. She commissioned Studio Roosegaarde to create a project based around the dike, entitled ‘Icoon Afsluitdijk’. The studio’s design was unveiled during the kick-off weekend in September 2016, to which the press and public needed to be invited.

Our approach

With barely two months to create a buzz around Icoon Afsluitdijk, invite the general public to attend the launch weekend, and organise the press conference, there was a great deal of work to be done. To reach the maximum number of people during the holiday season, we chose to focus on social media (advertising) in combination with several in-depth interviews in regional and national newspapers. Throughout this phase, we closely monitored the general online response to Icoon Afsluitdijk and took action where necessary.

The outcome

In early July, we got the ball rolling with interviews with Daan Roosegaarde in Het NRC Handelsblad, NRC Next and de Leeuwarder Courant, including the online channels. Leading up to the launch weekend, updates were sent to the general public using the social media platforms of Studio Roosegaarde and other stakeholders. During the press conference, journalists saw and heard the full story. The result was a very successful launch weekend. With the right tone of voice in the interviews beforehand, and a predominantly neutral to positive sentiment online.