CAMPAIGNS: CORPORATE POSITIONING; Screening that’s light years ahead

PR Team: A Plus Group Campaign: Corporate positioning of Cambridge Display Technology Timescale: November 1995 launch with on-going press work. Cost: Launch costs pounds 7,500 plus expenses.

PR Team: A Plus Group

Campaign: Corporate

positioning of Cambridge Display Technology

Timescale: November 1995 launch with on-going press work.

Cost: Launch costs pounds 7,500 plus expenses.



CDT was founded three years ago following a hi-tech breakthrough by

Cambridge University physicist, Professor Richard Friend. He discovered

light-emitting polymers (LEPs) which, he claims, allow low-cost, high

performance colour displays for use on everything from mobile phones, to

television sets and computers. The beauty of LEPs is that they’re

cheaper and less bulky than current cathode ray tube technology and can

be made on flexible plastic - in future we could have roll-up, wafer

thin TV and computer screens.



The company needed its business strategy, patents and licences in place

before publicly courting funds to expand operations.



Objectives



CDT launched a funding round earlier this year to raise pounds 4 million

to help it bring its first products to production by next year.

Publicity was needed to bring interested investors and business partners

to its door, so A Plus was given the task of bringing CDT’s existence to

the notice of opinion formers and publicising the viability of LEP

technology.



By emphasising business opportunities - the electronic displays market

will be worth pounds 45 billion within three years according to Japanese

industry estimates - it was hoped CDT would take off.



Tactics



Early investors in CDT included some high-profile names, including

veteran rockers Genesis, Hermann Hauser a founding director of Acorn

Computer, and technology inventor Professor Richard Friend.



The investors were brought together for the London press launch of CDT

and helped deliver a variety of news angles to the invited business and

national media: picture opportunities and celebrity link with Genesis,

Cambridge University’s exciting spin-out technology and the potential

for a UK company targeting a huge global industry.



Results



The press conference generated substantial stories in the Financial

Times, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian,

Reuters and trade papers, including Electronic Engineering Times,

Computer Weekly and Electronics Weekly.



BBC Radios 4 and 5 and regional stations also ran items.



Deals have since been signed with Xyratex, a former division of IBM, to

work on the production of flexible circuit boards and the Bank of Tokyo

has agreed to provide assistance in sourcing partners in Japan and Asia

Pacific. A major deal with an electronics giant is due to be announced

within weeks.



Verdict



One broadsheet journalist said they were surprised A Plus had not pushed

the story to the consumer press, considering the excitement tiny

flexible TV screens would be likely to generate. But the agency says

that it didn’t want to create unreasonable expectations as consumers

wouldn’t be able to purchase the screens for several years.



CDT’s business development manager Mark Gostick was however, delighted

with the handling of the story by the nationals, and believes that the

company’s pounds 4 million funding target will be met within the next

two months.



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