Health and Care Technologies, Heriot-Watt University

Saving the world...
with chewing gum...

It may sound far-fetched, but that’s exactly what our team at Hot Tin Roof helped
Heriot-Watt University achieve with their innovative research!


Coverage hits


Est. views


Heriot-Watt has created a global research institute for Health and Care Technologies, to turn cutting-edge research into impactful and practical solutions that make a positive impact on peoples’ lives, the NHS and health and care globally. Our job is to find innovative research projects to promote the work the university is doing. So, when one of the lead academics made an off-the-cuff remark during a run-of-the-mill meeting, we saw an opportunity to tell a really good tale.

A core goal was to secure widespread media interest across print, online and broadcast outlets read by key target groups like teachers, parents and policymakers. This necessitated tailored pitches highlighting curriculum links, online safety tips and government endorsements. There was also a focus on Scottish outlets, parenting/education titles and Gaelic-speaking platforms to directly engage the right audiences.

Identifying the story

During a conversation about medical waste, leading academic Professor Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas mentioned that she was having five prototype lateral flow tests produced from sustainable plastics to demonstrate what was possible with a little, well, lateral thinking. One of those sustainable products was Gum-tec, effectively using discarded chewing gum as a raw material.


We thought this was a cracking story that had real potential for extensive media coverage. We engaged the project partners and secured their buy-in. Our news sense proved correct, as the press association, Reuters news agency, and a host of top tier publications and specialist websites covered the story. It really wasn’t a hard sell in the end!


This story also marked the first time Reuters commissioned us to film on their behalf and we must have done a good job. Our footage went global, broadcast on TV or via the web in 22 countries, with ‘hits’ appearing everywhere from Azerbaijan to Vietnam, Chile to Colorado Springs.

The Results

In total, we achieved 475 pieces of coverage across the world, reaching an estimated audience upwards of 750 million people. Top tier ‘hits’ in the UK included the BBC, Scottish TV, The Independent, Daily Mail, and London Evening Standard. In the USA alone, over 100 broadcasters picked the story up, but the ‘hit’ Professor Kersaudy-Kerhoas seemed to enjoy seeing the most was an article in the Bangkok Post!

We were thoroughly impressed by the outstanding PR work Hot Tin Roof delivered for our sustainable lateral flow cassette. Their strategic approach was ingenious, securing extensive coverage across major national media outlets and raising significant awareness about our product. The team at Hot Tin Roof were very professional and creative,  ensuring our message resonated with the right audience. Their support throughout the campaign was fantastic, making the entire process seamless and highly effective. The buzz created around our innovative product has exceeded our expectations, driving industry conversations and increasing interest in our sustainable solutions. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this endeavour. Thanks again Hot Tin Roof!

Kiron Phillips

Great Central Plastics

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