Earlier this year a national survey asked 2,000 people what they thought the most unsexy job was with top answer being ‘a cleaner’ which was a touch dispiriting for one of our B2B clients, The British Cleaning Council (aka the BCC).
This was further compounded when ITV’s drama Cleaning Up came onto our screens, with office cleaners being portrayed as unprofessional and irresponsible at best and downright criminal at worse.
But despite the enduring image of the commercial cleaning industry being unglamorous, the sector in our experience is remarkably upbeat, resilient and forward-looking.
This was evident this week at The Cleaning Show, a major trade exhibition and conference hosted at London’s Excel convention centre.
Co-produced by the BCC, the three-day expo was packed with product demonstrations, presentations from leading industry experts, round-table discussions and high-level networking.
The scale and significance of the show also meant us looking after journalists from over a dozen key trade magazines from across the cleaning, hygiene, waste and Facilities Management sectors.
In addition, the BCC and the Federation of Window Cleaners hosted the Window Cleaning World Cup, a new international competition designed to find the world’s fastest window cleaner.
SKV’s PR campaign around this inaugural event saw it getting preview coverage across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Scandinavia, Russia, Japan and the Middle East.
We also successfully pitched the competition to ITV’s This Morning, who subsequently invited two of the participants to the studios for a special live challenge, along with the Deputy Chair of the BCC acting as referee.
Meanwhile over at Excel itself we had photographers, broadcasters and national news agencies gathering, all wanting a piece of Window Cleaning World Cup action.
By 5pm that day the Press Association had edited b-roll shot at the event, and the story began to appear with pictures and clips on many national and regional websites, including the Mail Online, ITV.com and UNILAD.
The following day The Sun made the Holly Vs Phil window cleaning challenge an early page lead, while the Daily Express went big on the Window Cleaning World Cup.
The print coverage subsequently saw the event being discussed on the BBC Breakfast sofa during the newspaper round-up, and short clip produced by the BBC began to be promoted via BBC Sport and the BBC World Service’s social channels.
As more coverage and videos got posted and shared, the buzz around The Cleaning Show was incredible, and not only within the window cleaning community.
Of course, happy exhibitors and enthused partners are much easier to close down than miserable ones, and The Cleaning Show’s sales team immediately began to leverage the intense media coverage we had generated to secure repeat stand bookings for 2021 (just as they had two years ago when SKV got BBC Breakfast along to the Manchester Cleaning Show for a morning of live business reports).
The other added bonus for us was the fact our Director of Strategy, Richard Bond, was set to give a presentation at The Cleaning Show’s conference the day all the national media coverage landed.
This meant rather than spend time talking about our credentials, he simply said to the audience “If you Google Window Cleaning World Cup, you’ll see what we do.”
So, like many other industry sectors SKV work in, handling PR for the UK’s commercial cleaning sector might appear to be a bit dull on the surface – but the reality is the opposite, and as an agency we are always happy to add that little bit of sparkle to any niche or specialist B2B communications.