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Educational PR as a communication tool for events: How Prague Mussel Week attracted 13,000 enthusiasts

Fourteen tons of blue mussels from the Netherlands; 36 Prague restaurants; 7 wholesalers; 13,055 vouchers sold; 23,085 unique website visitors and 63 references in the media. These are the outcomes of the September project Prague Mussel Week (PMW) in which we were responsible for communication. We chose “educational public relations” as the backbone of our communication strategy, which turned out to be immensely successful with the media and general public.

Challenge: Promoting a “sea of flavours on your tongue” in a landlocked country.

September 2019, this unique, one-of-a-kind mussel festival in the Czech Republic was expected to bring “the greatest seafood in a sea of flavour”. A variety of delicacies were to be served, such as mussels with Basque chorízo, mussels in avocado paste, and even mussels on a bed of pine needles. Our agency’s task was to show Czechs that mussels need not be an exotic delicacy at unbelievably high prices.


The Dutch blue mussels brought from the city of Yerseke were prepared by chefs from well-known Prague restaurants in three descending price categories: Luxury, Value for money, and Bistro. Moreover, the organisers wanted to remind Czechs how exceptionally healthy seafood actually is. Mussels are in fact a superfood. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and substances with proven benefits for the heart.

Communication preparation: journalists visiting mussel producers.

In advance of the media’s debate over seafood was organised an original “press trip” for food journalists to Yerseke, in the Netherlands, where the best Dutch mussels come from. Some four months before the actual event, these journalists had the opportunity to try a variety of interesting dishes based on recipes from local chefs, and to meet the main ambassadors of the project: winner of Masterchef 2019 Kristína Nemčková, her competitor from the contest Lea Skálová, and the famous chef Filip Sajler.

During their visit, the journalists learned how mussels are transported to the Czech Republic. The press trip gave rise to many interesting feature articles, which provided the best introduction to the topic of mussels. Discussion over Dutch mussels continued across carefully selected media across the media spectrum. We correctly assumed the topic of the festival to be so interesting and original that media attention would not flag.

Follow-up campaign: recipes, popular informative topics, and tasting sessions for journalists

Once the topic of mussel had been properly introduced, the campaign continued with a panel of materials which educated the Czech general public on the topic of seafood. Communication focused on:

  • original recipes from ambassadors
  • original recipes from participating restaurants
  • educational articles on the health benefits of seafood, with quotes from experts
  • invitations to the mussel festival for readers

The pinnacle of media communication was the  “VIP mussel tasting” event for the media, which included a live cooking show. The event at Blue Fjord in September was attended by 8 journalists and 1 photographer from the target media of magazines, online recipe sites, radio and TV, such as Svět ženy, Blesk Vaše recepty, primafresh.cz, Apetit, Nova, Rádio City, Katka and Vlasta. The purpose of the event was to improve informal relations with the media and help build the positive brand of PMW.

Subsequently communication was combined with the client’s ATL campaign, focused on selected billboards in Prague and a series of educational clips on the YouTube channel for Prague Mussel Week.

Results: a sea of mussels and tide of interest

During September’s event 14 tons of mussels were consumed and 13,055 vouchers were sold. Thanks to 63 references in the media, the public learned about the event in time and were given plenty of reasons to take an interest in seafood.

Our PR campaign was successful: we launched our communication well in advance and managed to reach digital (online) media as well as print media. Journalists appreciated the fact that our communication was linked to PMW as the highpoint of education on mussels. The event fuelled the interest of readers and viewers in this type of food, as we can tell from the high number of views of mussel-related articles at this time.

THE MEDIA RESPONSE, THE EXCELLENT RELATIONS WITH JOURNALISTS, AS WELL AS THE EDUCATIONAL MOOD OF THE COMMUNICATION AND THE INTEREST OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN MUSSELS DURING THE FESTIVAL, ALL EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS, WHICH IS WHY WE ARE IN NEGOTIATIONS TO HOLD PRAGUE MUSSEL WEEK IN 2020 AS WELL.

Jan Škoda, CMO of HOPI Holding, whose company HOPI CEE FISH HUB specialises in the logistics and processing of fresh fish for Central and Eastern Europe.

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