Case study: Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

In 2017 Suffolk Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to promote improvements to the A14 trunk road. They called it ‘No More A14 Delays in Suffolk’. In partnership with Suffolk County Council and others, they were looking for investment in the next round of the Government’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS2). This strategy covers the period 2020 -2025.

The arguments for improvement were clear. The A14 links Felixstowe – a vital port, likely to become even more important after Brexit – with the rest of the UK. The route takes it through Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, and on to the Midlands hub and the Northern Powerhouse. Yet the road itself is nothing more than a dual carriageway with a series of notorious pinch points. And the network around it is not coping with current levels of traffic, let alone the levels expected over the next few years.

The requirement

A key milestone in the campaign was a parliamentary reception with the campaign message tilted towards a national audience under the strapline ‘The A14 in Suffolk – Britain’s Premier Trade route’. And there were some very high-profile invitees. Suffolk Chamber planned to present new data vindicating the campaign. And it was important to deliver that information clearly, concisely, and with maximum impact.

Video, in particular aerial video, was an obvious solution.

With a tight deadline for delivery, Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s Head of Communications and Campaigns, remembered writing an article about Birds i Images for their Chamber Voice publication, and sent an initial brief. He needed a high quality, edited and captioned video. It was to run for no more than 4 minutes, and demonstrate the key points supporting the campaign.

Making the video

‘Dave came back very quickly,’ says Paul. ‘And he was very assiduous about helping us to clarify and shape the brief. Once  we had agreed terms, Dave effectively drove the project. He knew what was wanted. He identified suitable take-off and landing sites. And he showed a very keen awareness of the permissions we needed. He also identified the landowners of the intended sites and made all the necessary arrangements with them. That made everything as painless as possible! After each day’s shooting he sent the rushes for comments and amends. And over about a week we identified the sequences we wanted, showing delays at the pinch points on the route, and the key destinations along it. Dave then edited those sequences, with exceptional attention to the detail of the finished video.’

Showing the video

The parliamentary reception opened with informal networking, while the video appeared prominently in the background. The second, formal session featured speakers from Suffolk, and a reply from the Secretary of State for Transport. During this session the video was running right next to the speakers. Then – and during the last part of the event – it served as a constant, effective reminder of the importance of the A14; and the arguments for securing government funding to improve it.

So how would Paul rate the contribution from Birds i Images? In his words: ‘We were impressed by Dave’s attention to detail, his understanding and appreciation of the brief, and his constant and timely communication when issues needed clarifying. And we were delighted with the result.’

Traffic in Bury St Edmunds - still from the video made for Suffolk Chamber
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