My Light Shines On

Edinburgh International Festival | My Light Shines On

In April, the 2020 Edinburgh International Festival had to be cancelled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. With some spectacular content targeting those that would miss the festival the most, Edinburgh International Festival showed that their light still shone with messages of togetherness and optimism.

The Challenge

In April, the 2020 Edinburgh International Festival had to be cancelled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic – the first time in 73 years that the festival would not run.

Unable to present its planned programme of events in August, Edinburgh International Festival wanted to send out an optimistic message of solidarity and to celebrate the collective spirit of the festival city during a time of uncertainty and discontent. 

The Big Idea

The lyric ‘My Light Shines On’, from the Primal Scream anthem ‘Movin’ On Up’ perfectly reflected the big idea of the 2020 campaign. The line symbolised everything that EIF wanted to align with and it was to become a crucial part of the activity, as the event was named ‘My Light Shines On’ and the song would be used across a lot of the key content.

The media brief was all about supporting the ‘My Light Shines On’ calendar of events:

At 9pm on Saturday 8th August, what would have been the official opening weekend of the 2020 festival, an opening night film that included works from some of Scotland’s major national companies was broadcast on the EIF YouTube Channel. The evening culminated with some of Edinburgh’s famous venues projecting huge light beams across Edinburgh's night sky representing beacons of hope for everyone.

Throughout August a series of company films were released onto the EIF YouTube channel and a classical music sound installation was also broadcast in Princes Street Gardens daily.

Making It Happen

We needed to find those who would miss the festival the most.  There were 3 core audience groups we were looking to reach;

  • ‘Edinburgh Loyal’ who fell into the key EIF Mosaic groups of Prestige Positions & City Prosperity,
  • ‘Edinburgh Culture’ who live in the city and have an interest in culture
  • ‘Will Travel for EIF’ for those who would be interested in the festival outside of Edinburgh.

Using audience planning tools and research, we were able to show that the best way of engaging with all 3 audiences at mass was through digital, audio and out-of-home formats.

EIF created a beautiful brand video which we ran as a TrueView format to increase awareness & engagement, whilst also using a cut-down 6” of the brand video which would run as a Bumper format to build frequency of message. We prospected the long-format videos and bumpers to affinity audiences, custom-affinity audiences, in-market categories and the key Mosaic groups.

For Paid Social we applied a three-pronged approach, to generate wider awareness, drive responses to the launch night event and drive traffic to the content. The brand video targeted lookalikes of EIF website visitors and Facebook page followers and the traffic-driving campaign promoted individual company films, covering classical music, theatre, dance & opera, and drove users through to view the content.

We continued to run the EIF PPC activity but adapted it in accordance with the My Light Shines On campaign, capturing potential intrigue on launch night and those searching on relevant terms. For Out-of-Home, we used digital formats to reach our audience within Edinburgh, using a combination of small & premium large formats to deliver both frequency and impact.

The Results

With a limited campaign budget available, all channels out-performed the forecasted deliveries and achieved substantial extra value. Specific numbers included: 


  • 828k completed video views
  • 2k more EIF YouTube channel subscribers
  • Reach of 564k


  • 1.5k event responses
  • 8k clicks
  • Reach of 320k


  • 4.3m digital 6 sheet impacts, 31% added value
  • 115k digital large format plays, 884% added value

The digital activity exceeded all campaign forecasts and delivered an engaging campaign. The creative resonated with the audiences and was well-received, also increasing the number of EIF followers while the campaign was live.

The Out of Home activity massively overdelivered and a huge amount of overshow was achieved ensuring the creative was broadcast to a large audience in the Edinburgh area.

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