Posted on 05 May 2023
When long-standing ICG client Blackpool Zoo posted a vacancy for a human seagull deterrent it broke the internet.
Within 48 hours, news of the extraordinary job role, which involves the successful applicant wearing an inflatable eagle costume, had reached as far as Kenya, Borneo, Australia, Canada, Germany and America…. to name but a few!
Our PR team ‘flew’ into action to answer hundreds of media enquiries from across the globe.
It was the topic of discussion on the UK small screen with mentions on This Morning, Loose Women, Have I Got News For You, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News, GB News, Granada Reports, BBC North West Tonight and many more.
The radio waves were also buzzing. BBC Radio One had several DJs apply for the positions, Heart FM sent their roving reporter and Gaydio and Virgin Radio joined every single BBC local radio station in discussions about the once in a lifetime opportunity.
Over in print, The Sun sent their features writer up to Blackpool to try out being a ‘gull getter’ while The Mirror dispatched their infamous Mirror Chicken to face off against the celebrity eagle (of course, the eagle reigned supreme). Other nationals, from the Daily Mail to The Telegraph and newspapers from regions across the country spread the word.
Famous faces that talked about the story included Paul Merton, Coleen Nolan, Jeremy Vine, Amanda Holden, Jenny Powell, Richard Ayoade, Ian Hislop, Roman Kemp, Ruth Langsford, Frankie Bridge, Jamie Theakston and many more!
Almost £8m worth of PR coverage was secured in just under two weeks - and that was just the UK press.
The vacancy also captured the imagination of journalists looking for great stories across the globe!
The Wall Street Journal got in touch while other international media cuttings included Fox News, Huffington Post, CNN, The Indian Express and the South China Morning Express.
Overseas TV programmes including The Project in Australia and, wait for it, James Corden on his last ever Late Late Show in America covered the story.
There were over 250 applications for the role from as far afield as Australia, Uganda, Ukraine, the US and Kenya.
Visitor Services Assistant at the zoo, Jess Monks, modelled the inflatable eagle costume and has taken her new found fame in her stride.
Operations and Visitor Services Manager, Ian Walker, also became an overnight sensation, with interview requests still coming in thick and fast two weeks later.
Behind the hype is a serious message, as the chosen applicants will need to be open to helping to educate visitors about the importance of not feeding or encouraging the nuisance seagulls.
It has certainly been a fortnight like no other for our PR team, but everyone pulled together to make sure that we squeezed every column inch and broadcast minute out of this once in a lifetime viral sensation!
This year marks 15 years since we started working with Blackpool Zoo, which is testament to the relationship and deep understanding we have of the attraction, its fantastic team and amazing residents.
Here’s to the next 15 years and more of really wild stories!