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Campaign: Floodline early warning system

Client: The Environment Agency
WPP company: Headcount Worldwide Field Marketing,

Five million people in the UK are at risk of flooding. It is estimated that a house flood is 30 times more costly than a burglary.

Headcount, WPP’s field marketing agency, has been helping The Environment Agency to promote Floodline, an early warning system set up to reduce flood damage. The technology warns at-risk people via text message, fax, pager, telephone or email, enabling them to prepare their homes and evacuate when necessary. The Environment Agency has invested £1,100 million since 2000 in flood defences and public awareness. Despite this, only 30% of homes who can sign up to receive warning have done so.

Headcount Worldwide organised a face-to- face marketing, ‘door-knocking’ campaign in late 2006 to spread awareness and encourage residents to sign up for the free Flood Alert Scheme. A specially-trained team visited 1,880 high-risk properties across the Manchester and Liverpool area, to inform people about the Flood Alert Scheme, distribute info packs and encourage them to sign up.

Around 34% of the residents spoken to signed up on the spot, and a further 50% expressed an intention to sign up.

“The door-knocking exercise has been very successful for raising awareness of flood issues and getting people to sign up for flood warnings,” reported Claire James, Flood Incident Management Officer of the Environment Agency.