Leisure Event Marketing, Design and Identity

London Boat Show

Big Cat provided leisure event marketing and design services to British Marine for the London Boat Show.


London Boat Show is part of the British Marine Boat Show portfolio of world-class events. Held in January at the ExCel London, the show features hundreds of exhibitors, showcasing the latest boats and products plus interactive attractions, creating an experience fit for sailing enthusiasts and newcomers alike. All money made from the show is reinvested back into the UK boating industry through the services provided by British Marine.


  • Increase the number of attendees at the 2018 London Boat Show (growing visitor numbers to 115k over a three-year period)
  • Increase the number of aspirational target audience attendees at the 2018 London Boat Show
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Following a successful pitch, Big Cat were initially tasked with developing the existing London Boat Show identity and messaging. In-depth marketplace and audience research was conducted to identify key insights, which identified ‘immersive innovation’ as a priority factor for appealing to the target audiences. To capture this in the new identity, the logo mark was updated to a more contemporary design, using subtle nautical iconography, whilst avoiding overt stereotypes and maintaining a stylish look and feel.

The identity was supported by aspirational imagery that reflected the newer, younger demographic of the show, and the introduction of the hashtag #makingwaves, which aligned all touch points to the new positioning. To mark the inaugural position of London Boat Show in the boating calendar and its showcase of high-end, new products, the refined headline “The First. The Exclusive. The Unmissable.” was introduced to the creative. The creative was also adapted to provide a sub-brand for the newly introduced Boating and Watersports Holiday Show, which formed part of the London Boat Show 2018 offering, providing inspiration for boating holidays.

With a diverse range of audience groups (including trade) to appeal to, across a variety of media, guidance was required to direct communications and ensure consistency. A messaging matrix was produced to aid the in-house team and Big Cat, detailing key attributes of the event plus primary, secondary and tertiary messaging for each audience and channel.

Prior to commencing rollout of campaign materials, key creative and copywriting was completed for print and digital formats. This then informed the artwork of required adverts (media plan supplied by client) and marketing collateral / assets, conducted across the following trade and consumer touch points:

  • Print adverts
  • London Underground adverts
  • Ticketing and visitor packs
  • Sponsorship and sales brochures
  • Show collateral
  • Venue signage and screens
  • Email templates and assets
  • Digital display adverts


Social media management was also actioned in the initial stages of the event marketing, to help support the British Marine in-house Communications team. This included content planning (in line with key calendar events and announcements), implementation and management of social media platforms. A series of ‘teaser’ videos was also produced, which was seeded across Facebook and Twitter to provide more engaging content, whilst announcing the new show.

Finally, Big Cat worked in collaboration with British Marine’s digital team and third party website development company, to update the existing London Boat Show website and also create a new site, dedicated to the Boating and Watersports Holiday Show. Big Cat were responsible for the production of sitemaps (informed by reviews of current search visibility and keyword opportunities) plus wireframe development. This was followed by the design of key page templates and copywriting across both websites (factoring in mobile responsiveness, UX, conversion funnels and target keywords). This was handed over to the website development company to build, with Big Cat providing advice and support on design / functionality, to meet requirements.



  • Over 52,000 visitors (significant average daily increase on attendance from 2017)
  • 347 Exhibitors
  • 94 brand new products launched
  • Average daily attendance of over 10,000
  • On Saturday alone, over 3,000 people visited some of the new inland boats on display for 2018

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