In December 2017, changes in the private renting sector came into force in Scotland to provide more safeguards for tenants and landlords. Shelter Scotland received a Scottish Government grant to roll out communications around these reforms to make both audiences feel positively engaged with the new legislation.
Appointed only four weeks before the campaign launched, we had to come up with a creative approach that would cut through to hard-to-reach audiences. The campaign was based around key points in the legislation so we needed to bring complex ideas to life in an eye-catching way. Our solution was to use everyday household objects and word play to convey the 'New House Rules'.
We developed an illustrative style and object-centered messaging system across a range of collateral - animation, landing page, social media, print and digital advertising. To help free up Shelter Scotland's helpline, we also created a chatbot to answer questions on the website. We named her Ailsa - both a popular name for a home in Scotland and an acronym for Artificially Intelligent Lightweight Shelter Assistant!
Results from two YouGov surveys showed that awareness of the new tenancy laws rose to 54% from 25% - a massive 29% increase in 4 months since November 2017.
Awareness of the change to length of notice period rose from 18% to 41%
Awareness of rent increase frequency and notice rose from 15% to 36%
Awareness of a new system for resolving disputes rose from 9% to 25%
During the three months of the initial campaign, there were over 6,500 interactions compared to 4,000 users of Shelter Scotland’s Live Chat service over the last year.
As Keith Bartholomew, Senior Digital Officer at Shelter Scotland said:
"The chatbot allows people to self-serve and find out the information online, rather than phone our helpline. It has helped a significant number of people get to grips with the legislation changes.”
"From the very first meeting with 999 we felt like we were with old friends. They took our 'not yet quite formed' ideas, helped us coax them out and breathe life into them until we had a living breathing campaign. They challenged us, encouraged us and helped us and kept us on track when we started to stray. We have been consistently impressed with their ability to deliver high quality materials with sometimes, incredibly tight deadlines! Not only did we progress much quicker with their help, but we have learned a lot in the process. Thanks 999!"