Mi-IDEA: The Place To Bee [Cisco/MSP]

For the grand opening of the new Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) Bright Building and home of Mi-IDEA, the partnership post-accelerator programme for tech start-ups between Cisco and MSP, we were tasked by Cisco’s Innovation team to develop a big launch idea and theme.

Taking the symbol of Manchester (the worker bee) and combining it with a small project connecting honey bees to the internet in Australia Cisco that was already supporting I found while doing research- we developed a creative platform, narrative and assets around ‘Manchester: The Place To Bee’. The creative reflects the start-ups Mi-IDEA supports, which are much like bees going out in the world to find pollen (global issues), coming back to the hive (Mi-IDEA), and creating their honey (innovation). This was the perfect analogy to tell Cisco's innovation story and demonstrate IoT in it's simplest form, while helping protect honey bees. It was a slam dunk.


Firstly, to tie in with the IoT and tech elements of the centre, we recommended that Cisco actually implement the Connected Bees project on-site at Mi-IDEA and around Manchester (where real-life bees tagged with micro RFID chips are connected to the internet, opening up new ways for scientists to study the rapid decline in bees and an individual insect level never before possible). Mi-IDEA is now the first in Europe to implement this approach contributing data to the global pool and should help to keep Manchester’s bees around for a long time.

Our PR campaign secured tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and BBC Breakfast to visit Manchester and film around the Connected Bees project and launch of the centre. Going out three times on the morning of Fri 22nd September, the clip also featured on the BBC online tech page throughout the weekend as well as broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester and another interview with Cisco UK&I’s CEO live on BBC World Service. We also secured two tier-one tech journalists to attend the event from Computer Weekly and Computer Business Review. Following the distribution of the press release and a strong media sell-in, coverage has so far been achieved in City AM print and online, The Times print and online, IT Pro, Smart Cities World and across regional and technology trades. Estimated total circulation for the campaign post event: 146,113,188.

For the launch event itself, we produced physical invitation packages for 350 select invitees that featured an eco-friendly box and straw filling. The invitation itself was printed on bee-friendly flower seed paper, and invitees were encouraged to plant it directly into the ground to grow flowers that are beneficial to bee health. The box also contained a custom branded Google Cardboard viewer and call to action for people to view the invitation in 360° on their mobile via the GC viewer at ThePlaceToBee.co.uk.


There, the invitees found themselves in an immersive world outside of the Mi-IDEA centre at golden hour, where they flew among the friendly honey bees of Manchester towards the new building, passing through key invitation messaging on their way. They could have a look around the outside of the centre in 4K 360°, with CGI honey bees buzzing around them and leading the way to the doors of Mi-IDEA, opening 21st September at the launch event:

The packages were not only a hit with the client, but have become a bit of a viral sensation on social media, with recipients posting unboxing videos on YouTube and Tweeting photos and videos of their coworkers mesmerised in the Google Cardboard 360° experience, and photos of the invite packages with major kudos – some even dubbing it ‘the most innovative event invite ever’, which couldn’t have made our innovation teams more proud (or us, for that matter). The invitation packages droving over 270 attendees to the launch event with a 200 person attendance goal, and 220 RSVPs pre-event. With a standard 50% no-show rate for event RSVP’s as a benchmark, we exceeded those numbers beating our attendance KPI by 35%. The video currently has over 870 organic views on YouTube, equating to an average watch rate of 2.5 times per invite recipient.

We have also developed an immersive virtual reality (VR) tour experience for the event, where viewers in a Samsung GearVR headset are accompanied by friendly bees that guide them through Mi-IDEA. The video highlights key features of the centre, and an interactive element lets people click to activate hotspots and find out more about the different tech and features of the smart building and innovation centre. This will live on VR headsets at various Cisco innovation centres around the country, including Mi-IDEA, and it will be available via a custom VR mobile app and on Facebook and YouTube:

For the event, we produced a mood film (top of post) to open the event and set the tone of the evening. We also produced goody bags for event attendees to take away which consisted of Mi-IDEA: The Place To Bee branded tote bags filled with branded local Manchester honey, notebooks, stickers, and Google Cardboard viewers to view the 360° tour experience.


The event was a huge success and set the bar very high for launch events in Manchester moving forward. You can see all the highlights of the event itself below accompanied by soundbites by some key stakeholders:


Organically, Mi-IDEA’s Twitter account saw a total of 32.3K impressions over the two day period with a total of 230 likes, 58 re-tweets 55 link clicks (343 total engagements) with an average of 775 impressions per tweet. Cisco UK&I Twitter account saw a total of 15.5K impressions and 603 engagements with each tweet generating an average of 1,932 impressions. Live Periscope interviews at the event across both channels had over 2,000 viewers among the top 3 performing videos. A takeover of the Cisco Global Snapchat on the night also garnered 353 unique viewers, 2,294 total views on all snaps, and 287 average views per snap with a completion rate of 67% (much higher than average).


  • International B2B Marketing Awards: Best SME Targeted Campaign- Shortlisted

  • PRMoment Awards: Best Social Media Campaign-


  • The Drum Marketing Awards: B2B Integrated Campaign Strategy of the Year- Shortlisted

  • PRCA National Awards: B2B campaign of the year-


  • Holmes Report Sabre Awards: B2B campaign of the year-


Galen DriverMi-IDEA