How do you relaunch one of
the National Trusts most iconic properties?

National Trust

Sutton Hoo opening launch campaign


The National Trust doesn't tend to close its doors and certainly has no property as iconic as Sutton Hoo been closed for so long. After deciding to totally re model the site, Sutton Hoo shut the doors for over six months to embark on a multi-million pound transform of the visitor experience. As burial ground much of the history isn't visible so a full scale replica of the excavated ship and viewing platform were two big changes planned. 

With such an ambitious build everything doesn't come together at once, so the decision was to share the site with the public earlier than expected, but to do so in a phased approach. The problem with this is how to communicate this with the visitors, so a campaign was required to manage expectations before and while they are on site.

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Big idea.

Beautifully perched on the brow of the hill as the land slowly meanders down to the River Deben, Sutton Hoo is a place totally transformed by the sun. As one of the UKs most easterly sites, we wanted to produce a campaign that focused on the sun, particularly at dawn, and the through of bringing the whole site to life.

The campaign line 'Hoo's Waking Up' symbolised this message perfectly and expressed the underlying message that something is happening and uncovering. Long shadows that distinctly shape the landscape will slowly shorten to reveal new experiences, communicating the idea of their phased opening.


The campaign idea was then expanded with a visual ID which used lino cut illustrations commissioned by Michelle Hughes. The lino illustrations sat beautifully with the handcrafted feel of the site and the process of calving into lino was a great expression and similar to that of digging into soil.

Over 10 individual illustrations were produced which tied the personality of the campaign together beautifully. Illustrations included the boat and jewellery dug from the site through to more story telling visuals of Mrs Pretty who instigated the dig and archeologists working on the site.

Along with Welcome, Event and River Walk leaflets, we also produced a host of interpretation signs and posters to not only keep visitors safe but educate and inspire them to what’s happening in the future of the site.


As part of the 'Hoo's Waking Up' campaign, regional level PR was used to slowly introduce visitors to the 1st phase opening. During this time much of the site was under construction and it wasn't until August when the 2nd phase national level PR campaign was launched. 

The response from the public has been incredible with the campaign successfully managing expectations over the summer. The visitor numbers has exceeded all expectations with an average of over 1,000 visitors each day, spiking even higher over the opening months weekends and bank holidays. 

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