Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Teaching young dogs old tricks

Last week we worked with RoadTour to launch a new satellite navigation guide that advises parents on locations throughout the UK that are child-friendly. What was interesting about the launch was that an online launch the previous week using targeted distribution to blogs and online gadget and shopping sites hadn’t worked. We were called in to apply a bit of traditional media magic, and here’s what we did:

We recrafted the story, starting with devising a media-friendly name for the product: “Tot-Nav.”

Next, we assembled a list of 10 tourist sites that scored poorly with children. For this, we asked our kids to quiz their social networks – MySpace, Windows Live, Bebo, Facebook and text – for ideas for the list, along with their reasons why. This was extremely effective. Some of the kids have a network of more than 500 friends on MySpace alone and when you consider the viral possibilities of asking friends a question that gives them the chance to vent their spleen… Well, suffice to say that we had plenty of choice. We looked for overlaps and we were able to assemble a credible top ten list very quickly.

Third, we targeted national print media, especially those papers that have a popular web presence. We offered photography and verbatim comments from kids on less-than-satisfactory “places of interest”.

The results? Page lead in the Daily Mail. Coverage in most tabloids and some broadsheets. Print circulation? More than 10 million. Online references? More than 40 on day one (and I don’t mean Uzbekistan gadget news). It’s this latter impact that is the most interesting and satisfying. It demonstrates that in the rush for online eyeballs it isn’t always the online distribution services that deliver. Good old fashioned media relations can bring a story to life, make it live in print and reach a quality online audience in substantial volumes.

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