Witness History An Post
A hundred years after The 1916 Rising, its place in public memory was waning. Dubliners needed reminding that when they walked streets of our capital, they were in fact walking through history.
To establish the GPO exhibition, Witness History, as the 2016 Rising commemoration’s definitive attraction, we set about retelling the 1916 story via people and places. The GPO is a physical manifestation of An Post’s unique role in Ireland’s history, and so too are the green post boxes dotted around the streets of Dublin. These hidden-in-plain-sight pieces of street furniture stood witness to the Rising 100 years ago, and many still bear the insignia of British rule today.
One Spring morning, commuters heading into Dublin were greeted by an arresting sight on their familiar streets. Throughout the city, 10 of An Post’s postboxes featured a makeover of royal red paint, accompanied by an invitation to ‘Witness History’ by free-texting the street name to 50100.
The reaction was predictably visceral. The jarring sight of these long-ousted symbols of British rule provoked anger, disbelief and, above all, curiosity. Accordingly, Dubliners in their thousands accepted the invitation to witness history via their mobile phone, and were greeted with a story from the Rising that took place on the very spot in which they stood 100 years ago. The result was over 11 million earned media impressions, over 8000 video views in the first week from over 5000 visitors and, most importantly, a completely sold out Witness History exhibition for 6 weeks.
This campaign proved how a clever campaign aimed at leveraging earned media can result in large online visitors who have shown a high propensity to ultimately convert online.