The Fawcett Society

The Challenge

With a new Chief Executive on board and the 150th anniversary approaching, our challenge was to make Fawcett the go-to people for comment on a range of women’s issues. The charity particularly wanted to be known as the experts on the three main areas on which they lobby; the Gender Pay Gap, gender stereotyping and women in power.

The Activity

Fresh kicked off by establishing a very extensive media database of relevant contacts who work across national newspapers, newswires, national broadcast, key online outlets, magazines, regional media and trade press. We contacted them to make sure we were on their radar as the first port of call for comment on a range of key women’s issues.

To ensure we remain front of mind we regularly issue press releases regarding the charity’s research in the three main areas that it campaigns on. An example of this is our Equal Pay Day activity. This is a Fawcett Society campaign that marks the day in the year that women ‘stop being paid’ compared to men, due to the Gender Pay Gap. We have established this as an annual event that gains widespread national and regional media attention.

As well as proactively issuing press releases we also handle many reactive media requests for Fawcett – a major part of our role now we have established Fawcett as the go-to spokesperson on women’s issues. A good example of how we have maximized the impact of a reactive opportunity is the ‘High Heels’ story, which broke last year. We were asked to comment on a temp who was told by the agency she worked for that she had to wear high heels. We issued a comment and put Fawcett Chief Executive, Sam Smethers, up for interview. The story and our response went far and wide. We capitalized on the interest by also running a social media campaign called #FawcettFlatsFriday asking people to post a picture on Twitter of themselves at work wearing flat shoes. This went viral and was trending in the Top Ten on Twitter on that Friday.

Another good example of a reactive story was the ‘Sexist Pricing’ story. This came about after a Times journalist approached us to comment on some research he had carried out looking at the price difference between male and female versions of products such as razors. The quote was used in his front-page article and kicked off a tidal wave of subsequent media requests for comment and interviews on the topic. Our response was so widely used that people assumed, that people assumed Fawcett had carried out the research in the first place! Coverage included TV interviews for BBC Breakfast, Channel 5 News and Sky News, as well as radio interviews with Radio 4 Today Programme and BBC World Service – plus blanket national newspaper coverage.

The Outcome

We consistently secure over 200 pieces of press coverage a month – with our record month seeing us secure over 1,000 pieces.

In November 2016 we secured the following for our Equal Pay Day press release:

  • 1 x Live interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain
  • 15 x Regional TV pieces
  • 72 x Regional radio interviews
  • 19 x National newspaper and magazine articles including the Guardian, Daily Mail, i, Stylist, Elle, and The Sun
  • 46 x Online pieces including BBC online, Mailonline,,, Yahoo and MSN
  • 20 x Trade press coverage

Examples of coverage for High heels story:

  • Radio interviews with Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Tees, BBC Radio Scotland
  • National newspaper coverage in Guardian, Metro, The Sun, Telegraph, i, Morning Star
  • Online coverage including Huffington Post, City am, Refinery 29, Stylist
  • Major regional newspaper coverage including the Evening Standard

Examples of coverage for sexist pricing story:

  • National newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Daily Mail, The Sun, Telegraph, i
  • National TV interview with BBC Breakfast, BBC News Channel, Channel 5, Sky News
  • National radio interviews on Radio 4 Today Programme, Radio 5 and BBC World Service
  • Regional radio interviews x 14
  • Widespread regional newspaper coverage including the Scottish Herald and the Evening Standard
  • Online coverage from major websites including Huffington Post, BBC Online, Marie Claire online,, The Pool

“We started working with Fresh in November 2015 and from day one they have been efficient, professional and highly effective.  Fawcett has an incredibly busy press office and a high media profile.

Fresh has demonstrated to us that they can more than handle it and offer great value for money.  They also bring creativity and enthusiasm and go the extra mile for the cause.  We’ve no hesitation in recommending them.”

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of The Fawcett Society

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