The Lighthouse – 15th anniversary

Client: The Lighthouse

Project: The Lighthouse’s 15th Anniversary

Date: November 2014



11 Mitchell Lane used to be the Glasgow Herald building until the early eighties. In 1999, the building was renovated and launched as The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture.

At the start of the 2014 planning, Aura suggested a celebratory event for The Lighthouse’s 15th anniversary. Aura was to produce and promote its 15th anniversary programme.


Aura’s brief was to raise awareness that The Lighthouse was in its 15th year, to confirm VIP guests and stakeholders and to highlight the work The Lighthouse has delivered and developed since 1999. Aura also had to confirm a line-up of activity for the event, something that grabbed attention and shouted about the positive things achieved and still to come.


Our strategy was simple. Keep it simple, elegant and short. The event must engage stakeholders, demonstrating a return on their investment and outlining plans going forward.

An evening event, after work, would work best for those finishing work before heading home.

In addition to an event, we integrated media relations activity, social media and as a record of the event, a photographer was confirmed.

As The Lighthouse went through a dramatic period of change 5 years ago, it was essential that we focussed on high end activity and the focus was to celebrate with people who have supported The Lighthouse.

An event was outlined to the client, with a VIP guest speaker, suggested as a Minister and of course, a huge supporter of The Lighthouse and key Glasgow cultural figure, Bailie Liz Cameron.

Aura suggested an exhibition, showcasing main exhibitions that featured in the last 15 years. The Lighthouse sourced and produced the exhibition, which allowed Aura to gather an invitation list, draft a design brief for the invitations and event design, as well as plan media and social media activity, to raise awareness of the occasion and successes over the 15 years.

The theme of the design was crystal, which in anniversary terms, is what you’d give to someone as a 15th anniversary gift.

Bailie Liz Cameron and Humza Yousaf, were both confirmed as VIP guests and speakers for the event. Invitations were sent out ensuring the event had a targeted guest list primarily of stakeholders. The invite was then extended to a wider audience of supporters, using the regular mailing list and social media channels. This generated great discussion and reminiscing!

Using the design concept, a striking image was organised pre-event with Bailie Cameron and Mr Yousaf. Aura organised for a projector to display the 15th anniversary graphic, in The Lighthouse’s entrance stairway. This utilised one of the buildings well known features.

Aura also suggested and helped generate content for a Twitter countdown of significant activities and events from the last 15 years to promote the event and generate interest on the day. A hashtag was also created, #lighthouse15, and used across all social platforms,

Aura had approval to produce a video, celebrating 15 years, as a key part of the event. The video captured old black and white images, it made use of previous videos shot of exhibitions and exhibitors as well as using high-energy music and positive messages to reinforce the positive nature of the event.

Briefings were written for the client and for the VIP guests, including speaker notes, which ensured all angles were covered and not duplicated. Particular emphasis was placed on the client’s speech, which must cover past, present and the future. The future was important to cover to ensure buy-in and continued support going forward.


The invitation to VIP guests had a high open rate of 61.2%, this was because the invitation was targeted. Between the invitation and then the wider invitation to the network, this resulted in 341 visits directly to the RSVP page, which means that awareness had been created. Overall, 103 people confirmed attendance and 75 people actually attended the event.

The video was well received, and was given a round of applause after it was played. It was also uploaded to The Lighthouse’s YouTube channel as a lasting record of the event, and to document some of The Lighthouse’s achievements over the last 15 years.


It was discovered during our press calls that, that particular day was not a good day for media to attend the event or cover it, with resource issues across print and broadcast media. Confirming what we already know about the decline in journalism.

Aura therefore set up the photo opportunity and had its own photographer there to cover the event.

Aura pitched the story and photo opportunity to The Herald, which sent a photographer to cover for a picture story and networking drinks for The Herald Social. Bailie Liz Cameron was interviewed by Inverclyde radio. The day after the event, Clyde1 also covered the news story in its morning news bulletin.

Social media:

Overall, the hashtag, #lighthouse15, reached 97,179 accounts and made 243,431 impressions on Twitter. 14 tweets originated from The Lighthouse’s account, these had 11 retweets, resulting in 140,000 impressions.

On Facebook, a variety of posts were used to document the anniversary. A simple post “It’s our 15th Anniversary & we’re celebrating in style tonight! Happy Birthday to us! #lighthouse15” reached 502 people, was liked by 16 people and shared once. This demonstrates the supportive nature of The Lighthouse’s online audience, an audience we have been highly involved in building and engaging with. One post containing the video created for the celebration reached 374 people, was liked 6 times and shared once. The shared video was then liked an additional 9 times on the Art Nouveau Club’s Facebook page. 7 other related posts were published on The Lighthouse’s Facebook page between 25-28 November, capitalising on the momentum built leading to the event and sharing the celebration with a wider audience.

The social activity also engaged well when we opened up a limited number of places to The Lighthouse’s supporters. As well as spreading word about the anniversary, it saw an increase in booking numbers of 44 people in one day, taking us to a 98% capacity event.

Summing up, all stakeholders, The Lighthouse’s supporters, Scottish arts and news media and of course members of staff have been engaged throughout the process of the anniversary celebration. Opportunities to hear about the anniversary reached the most online and event attendees heard positive news about the past 15 years and looking to the future, what was planned up until 2017.