Beenz is the name of a new, on-line currency. An innovative concept
in the world of e-commerce, Beenz are electronic credits which can be
earned by shopping on-line or even by simply visiting a web site.
Like other currencies, Beenz can be saved and spent. There are personal
Beenz bank accounts for saving: should you wish to spend your
hard-earned virtual currency, participating web sites will give you
discounts on purchases or access to information in exchange for
The Beenz Company, a brand new firm backed by personal investment from
the UK and US, hired Band and Brown Communications to launch Beenz in
the UK and Europe.
To generate a high level of awareness of the Beenz brand among consumers
and to educate businesses and web site owners about the commercial
potential of Beenz.
The creative strategy behind the launch of Beenz was to contrast the
hi-tech, up-beat nature of the Beenz brand against the formality of
Two distinct elements were devised: a guerrilla marketing teaser
campaign and an educational media relations campaign.
To create pre-launch excitement, the agency mailed key technology and
business writers a personalised spoof bank statement where all the
transactions were recorded in Beenz rather than sterling. The only clue
to the sender was the web address, www.beenz.com, which invited visitors
to e-mail the agency for further information. This generated a hit list
of dozens of journalists anxious to hear the Beenz story.
At the same time, Band and Brown hired a security truck which was
branded with the Beenz logo and web site address.
The truck toured London and Manchester, visiting media headquarters
throughout both cities. Cash machines in London were fly-posted with the
Press briefings were arranged to follow up the launch activity. All the
UK national newspapers attended an interview, along with the key
pan-European titles, the newswires and foreign press agencies. In total,
more than 35 one-to-one interviews took place.
At the same time, Middleberg and Associates, Band and Brown’s New York
affiliate, executed a similar PR strategy in the US.
In terms of raising awareness of the Beenz brand, there have been
numerous opportunities to see the story. So far it has been covered by
Bloomberg TV in Spanish, Italian and English; on radio on Radio 5, Radio
1, Virgin Radio, Classic FM, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC
Radio Solent and GLR; in 12 national newspapers and four pan-European
titles; along with 40 regional papers and 15 marketing and IT titles. A
total of 37 on-line web cuttings were also generated.
The educational campaign seems to have been a success too - more than 25
electronic traders have signed up to offer Beenz and a further 100
applications are being processed. Beenz reports that 10,000 people have
Yet another internet start-up company launching into the crowded
e-commerce market is not a dream ticket for a PR agency, but by fusing
guerrilla tactics with a massive media relations push, Band and Brown
caught the attention of internet-weary journalists and handed them all
the tools to build a story.
One newspaper business journalist, who wished to remain anonymous, said:
’Band and Brown had everything you needed to make the story work - the
people behind Beenz, customers who had signed up and background
information. All the pieces were in place.’
Client: The Beenz Company
PR Team: Band and Brown Communications
Campaign: Launch of Beenz
Timescale: March 1999