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Client: Helly Hansen and RNLI

Paddlesports power

Working with HH & RNLI to research behaviours in paddlesports and provide education for safe use

The Challenge

Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing watersports in the UK, and coupled with canoeing and kayaking, has seen a huge increase in participation, hitting almost 12 million in the last 12 months (data from the annual Watersports Participation Survey 2021). Data from the RNLI also states that in the last 10 years the organisation saved the lives of 300 paddleboarders, kayakers or canoers and helped 6,361 people. Helly Hansen partnered with RNLI in 2018 with the joint aim to reduce drowning and educate the public on safety on and around the water. With the recent data given for the paddlesports sector, and with such a huge spike during the pandemic, we were asked to focus on this area for our 2022 campaign.  

Working with ADPR and Helly Hansen to deliver the RNLI’s vital Water Safety messaging is an invaluable way of reaching more people with lifesaving campaigns. ADPR’s creativity brings our core message to life for a different audience sector, and we’re grateful for their unwavering support of our cause.

Steve Hulbert, Commercial Partnerships Manager at RNLI

The Solution

Working closely with both organisations, ADPR created a PR survey conducted by Helly Hansen, along with RNLI rescue statistics and case studies, combined with a creative photoshoot showcasing the survey findings.

The survey spoke to more than 2,000 members of the British public about their habits and behaviours when taking part in any of the paddlesports – stand up paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking. The data provided key information and headlines for the media, which highlighted areas where education was needed.

To bring the data to life, we devised a photoshoot which saw giant numbers on the beach made out of paddleboards, representing the number of RNLI paddleboard rescues over the past year, since the pandemic and key figures from the PR survey, all images were captured with a drone and supported the existing materials.

The RNLI also shared some interesting case studies, and put us in touch with three people from across the UK who had recently been rescued while partaking in paddlesports. We liaised with each case study to explain the campaign and to discover how they would like to be involved, all wanted to help raise awareness as much as possible and were more than happy to be pitched for media interviews.


The Results

The interest and coverage secured for this campaign was brilliant. We secured coverage in 22 titles, 19 of which were key, tier 1 titles for Helly Hansen. We also secured national coverage – in print, online and in broadcast titles including The Irish Sun, The Mail, BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Spotlight – which was a key objective for this campaign.

There was particular interest in our case studies, and we also identified and secured interview opportunities with several outlets to learn more about the incidents and how the RNLI rescued them, whilst sharing advice for the future.

  • Coverage generated in 22 titles
  • National coverage achieved with The Times and the Irish Sun
  • Broadcast coverage with BBC Spotlight, BBC Radio Cornwall and SupFM Podcast
  • Total campaign reach = 96,000,000+
  • Three case studies interviewed and pitched to the media
  • Seven creative images created with paddleboards to illustrate the survey and rescue data

Emma Russell, UK and Ireland Marketing Manager for Helly Hansen, “ADPR achieved great outputs against the objectives set, with increased reach and national press coverage. I truly believe that this campaign delivers for both Helly Hansen and RNLI.”

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