Canary Wharf Group: Short Story Stations

A ‘whodunnit’ with a difference to create talkability.


pieces of coverage
national hits


Driving perception change is our overall brief for Canary Wharf Group, with broad objectives to position the Estate as a lifestyle destination, increasing visits and encouraging more people to engage with its diverse retail, leisure and events offer.

When Canary Wharf told us of their latest initiative – installing Short Story Stations around the Estate, which dispense 1, 2 and 5-minute stories, they tasked us to generate earned media talkability. The machines had already generated coverage when they were launched in France so we needed to give the launch a fresh creative wrapping to ensure it grabbed attention.



To mark their arrival, we recruited award winning novelist, Anthony Horowitz, who penned an exclusive 60 second ‘whodunnit’ tale. We announced the collaboration by revealing that over 53 million books go unfinished every year as we’re all too busy to reach the final chapters. The Stations, and Anthony’s story, were positioned as the perfect antidote to busy lives and smartphone addiction, with the return to analogue scrolling (all stories are printed on eco-friendly papyrus scrolls).


In the first week alone, over 1,000 stories were printed, vastly surpassing expectations and data from two out of three machines showed that peak times for story downloads were at the weekends.

The award-winning campaign also generated a huge response from media with over 260 pieces of coverage including 10 articles in national press, and 18 pieces of broadcast coverage with top hits on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio London, resulting in 45 minutes of airtime. The Guardian ran repeated articles on the story, including an opinion piece inspired by our campaign message championing fiction as a respite from social media. This all helped to one in four Londoners seeing the campaign.

Post-campaign research of Londoners highlighted that 59% of those who saw the campaign now thought “Canary Wharf had more to offer than they originally thought” and 41% would consider visiting Canary Wharf in their spare time as a result of the campaign.

The campaign also won Best Real Estate and Construction at the SABRE Awards EMEA.



Real Estate & Construction