NewcastleGateshead Initiative


Championing a love of local, driving footfall back into high-street businesses, and reigniting community pride.

NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) is the destination promotion and inward investment agency for Newcastle, Gateshead, and the wider North East England region. It works with stakeholders, policy-makers and strategic partners to drive innovation, investment, and business growth that brings lasting social and economic benefits to the people of the area.

The brief for this project was to position and promote six of Newcastle’s diverse neighbourhoods as individual ‘urban villages’ in the style of London’s boroughs, reinvigorating local business and demonstrating to residents and visitors from the wider vicinity that each of these unique high-street destinations is safe (in a post-Covid world),appealing, and offers a wide choice of services to the shopper and leisure-seeker.

At the core of this Welcome Back campaign was the launch of the GeordieStreet app – a free-todownload hub hosting consumer information on shops, cafés, sports and leisure attractions and other places to enjoy in each key neighbourhood, in turn providing local businesses with a platform for promoting news, offers and discounts to a wider, primed audience. Our response to the challenge was a campaign idea born out of a deep immersion in sentiment research findings, which highlighted a real sense of positive community spirit – people in Newcastle are demonstrably proud of their neighbourhoods and keen to share what makes them so special. Qualitative feedback brought each of the areas to life in a very personal sense, and this inspired the ‘We are…’ concept: a manifesto that truly belongs to its people – both businesses and residents. First we established the umbrella brand: ‘We are Newcastle, diverse neighbourhoods in a distinctive city’. Then we introduced each of the local neighbourhoods with its own distinct character, using quirky imagery and fonts to really allow the different personalities to shine out.

Informed by consumer insight, we defined these personalities as:

  • Heaton: quirky, foodie and independent, vibrant with variety
  • Ouseburn: arty and eclectic, with a laid-back attitude and indie vibes
  • Quayside: café-bar culture with wow-factor waterside views
  • Gosforth: where bustling high street meets green park oasis
  • Byker: buzzing with bargains for the canny shopper, and real community spirit
  • Elswick: where a world of cultures meets, eats and treats

On launch more than 200 local businesses signed up to be part of the campaign, and the app was downloaded 3,500 times in the first four weeks

A campaign website,, was developed to house more information and promote use and downloads of the GeordieStreet app to consumers, and to encourage businesses to sign up to be promoted via the app. In addition we created an ambassador toolkit with downloadable promo graphics and customisable social media assets for participating businesses to use, also housed on the site.

Localised for minimal wastage and maximum effectiveness, the campaign media mix targeted residents and businesses within key postcodes with bespoke messaging for each area, and included:

  • An out-of-home schedule encompassing Adshel displays, Metro station posters, digital screens, AdVans and lamp-post banners
  • Programmatic display
  • Paid social on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • B2B collateral to align with the ambassador toolkit, including bespoke neighbourhood coasters, posters and maps with which businesses could further awareness and show their support.

Paid-for activity was supported by a comprehensive PR and communications plan during the campaign lifespan, with a series of press releases issued to regional media, including partner and business testimonial content. Coverage was achieved across all key regional titles online and in print, as well as in broadcast media, and a full-page campaign article was also featured in Newcastle City Council’s residents’ newsletter, CityLife, with a circulation of 120,000.


In less than two months the campaign brought together whole communities through the GeordieStreet app for the mutual benefit of residents and businesses, creating a real sense of community spirit and nurturing a ‘love of local’ that can be built on to benefit the area for years to come.

On launch more than 200 local businesses signed up to be part of the campaign, and the app was downloaded 3,500 times in the first four weeks.

The out-of-home advertising was seen by more than 3.1 million people and total reach saw more than 5 million engaging with the campaign at least once. Social media activity delivered a reach of over 37,000 and the website saw more than 2,600 visits in that first month.

And importantly, the campaign’s legacy has continued into ongoing stakeholder discussion as to how we build on momentum, by expanding into other neighbourhoods, attracting further business sign-ups and engaging more communities.

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