Working with the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU), we were tasked to produce film content for use as part of a major public affairs and lobbying campaign aimed at persuading the government to review its decision to tender for the construction of Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels under standard rather than military procurement regulations.
This decision meant that the contracts could be awarded to shipyards overseas resulting in the closure of yards in Britain and a subsequent skills shortage being created, which would prove detrimental in the future when further military contracts need to be awarded.
Our approach aimed to showcase two key issues – firstly, the extremely skilled nature of the British shipbuilding workforce, and secondly, the impact that awarding the contracts to shipyards outside of Britain would have on communities across the country.
The campaign was split into two phases that ran during Autumn 2019 and Summer 2020. For the second phase, we worked closely with our public affairs partners at Westbrook Strategies to align the video content with political engagement and public affairs activity being delivered alongside the campaign.
Filming took place at locations synonymous with British shipbuilding, including on the Forth and Clyde in Scotland, at Appledore and Plymouth in Devon, at Camell Laird on the Mersey and at the last remaining shipyard on the Tyne. We captured the thoughts and experiences of experienced shipyard workers and those just embarking on their careers, as well as strategic views from trade union representatives.
The content was edited into short, social media optimised packages focusing on key campaign issues that were designed to encourage organic sharing through campaign channels and the networks of affiliates. Thematic edits for use in political and media engagement were also produced for use by the CSEU team in lobbying activity.
The films formed the backbone of the CSEU’ campaign social media activity, which ran over two phases across 2019 and 2020. This ultimately led to the Secretary of State reclassifying the ships as warships and confirming a ‘significant proportion’ of the ships would be built in the UK. The Prime Minister raised the issue with Select Committee Chairs and in his 2020 Conservative Party conference speech.
Research indicates that the decision will result in up to £1.75bn being injected into the UK economy.
Organic content reach