Campaigns Showcase: Voting - Golden Goose PR - 'Beautiful' dating site whips up a storm

Campaign: Festive Fatties
Client: Beautifulpeople.com
PR team: Golden Goose PR
Timescale: November 2009-January 2010
Budget: £10,500, plus $20,000 for PR Newswire

In October 2009, Golden Goose PR launched Beautifulpeople.com, a dating website for those who pass an attractiveness rating, to a worldwide audience covering 190 countries. Following a successful launch, the team wanted to create a campaign to maintain momentum, fuel global controversy and establish the site as a global brand, with no-one less than perfect featured on the site. With Christmas coming, the PR team came up with the idea of Festive Fatties.

Objectives

- To provoke media attention with a controversial press release

- To spark debate and enable the company founders to defend their brand and represent their core values

- To attract more hits and applications

- To generate extensive global coverage.

Strategy and plan

The idea was to highlight members who had overindulged during Christmas. A migration system was introduced to the site, which instantly transported members with unsatisfactory new photos back to the rating stage. Photos were deemed unsatisfactory if they were given a low score by existing members.

Once back in the rating stage, members whose new photos had scored low ratings were made to go through a re-application process, where members of the opposite sex voted them in or out based on looks alone.

The migration system was introduced after Thanksgiving in the US and before Christmas and New Year. By January, more than 5,000 formerly beautiful members of the site had been booted off for 'letting themselves go' during the Christmas period. PR Newswire was provided with a press release and global translations were released on the morning of 4 January. Beautifulpeople.com's founder, MD and US MD all made themselves available for media interviews following the release.

Measurement and evaluation

Within the UK, coverage appeared in the Daily Mail, Daily Star, The Sun, London Evening Standard, The Independent, The Times and Daily Express, as well as Scottish and Irish titles. Online content appeared on telegraph.co.uk and the BBC News website, and the story also appeared on Loose Women, CNN, Absolute Radio and Capital Radio among other broadcast outlets.

Globally, the story featured in print, broadcast and online media including the New York Post, Washington Post, Fox News, ABC Australia, USA Today, Global Times, Canada Post and New Zealand Herald. Coverage appeared in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Indonesia, China, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Serbia, Australia, South Africa, India and Russia.

Results

Within 24 hours, there were 48,000 new applicants to Beautifulpeople.com. During peak times, the site experienced 700 applications a minute. It received more than 2.2 million hits in the days following the story. Independent traffic monitoring website Alexa rated Beautifulpeople.com as having an overall world ranking of 9,345.

HINDSIGHT

Miki Haines-Sanger, Co-founder, Golden Goose PR

Festive Fatties was a moment of inspiration on a wintery walk through Hyde Park. We spotted some good-looking couples stuffing themselves with fairground food from Winter Wonderland.

It made us think of the Beautifulpeople.com members and whether they would be pigging out like the rest of us this Christmas. We believed they would in the site's core markets: the UK, Europe, Russia, Canada and the US. The site already had a 'voting in or out' system so it just took one phone call to see if its tech team could migrate festive bingers back to it. It could. The client asked us to work through the pros and cons and the conclusion was ... what better way to defend the brand's 'lookist' values and tell the story on a global scale?

Festive Fatties achieved in four weeks what it had taken our client years of planning and development to achieve before. In their own words, it 'enabled the brand to explain itself on a wider global scale than we could have imagined'.

Until May this year, if you typed 'beau' into Google, the first three searches would pull up a link to Beautifulpeople.com. This was a phenomenal measure of success.

Because Festive Fatties cemented the arrival of Beautifulpeople.com as a global brand, it also secured a third round of investment. In January, version 3 will launch; a faster, more sophisticated platform with advanced social networking features, picture and video sharing.

There is talk of a major network TV series in the US, but we can't say more about that right now.

IMPACT

Ad revenue increase of 400 per cent in the three days after the campaign launch

- Traffic increase of 700 per cent between January and April 2010

- Increase in overall revenue of 900 per cent between January and April 2010

- In January 2010, Beautiful-people.com was ranked at 9,345 in Alexa's list of most visited sites. By February it had climbed to 1,700

- The media still discuss Festive Fatties.

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