CAMPAIGNS: Events PR - Fantasy and fact spark deed drive

Client: MoonEstates.com

Client: MoonEstates.com

PR Team: Thinkconsultancy

Campaign: Announcing land for sale on the moon

Timescale: September 2000

Budget: pounds 10,000

Not many people, least of all the man on the moon, know that land on the light side of the moon has been for sale in the US for 20 years.

Lunar landowners, who include Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood, are a phenomenon due to a loophole in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty which bans nations, but apparently not individuals, from laying claim to land.

When two Cornwall-based entrepreneurs secured the UK sales rights to land on the moon they immediately wanted to make a splash and drive sales of their lunar deeds. They decided to use agency Thinkconsultancy to launch their unconventional business in the UK.



Objectives

To increase awareness as quickly as possible of the launch of MoonEstates.com in the UK and draw the public onto the website by focusing on the novelty value of owning land on the moon. To drive sales of land on the moon.



Strategy and Plan

The client briefed Thinkconsultancy three weeks prior to the launch. Following a brainstorming session the two parties created tactics that would fit within a tight budget and timeframe.

The agency found as many different media selling angles as possible - from fantastic facts about the moon to lunar tax havens and space travel.

Locations were secured for film crews to interview spokespeople. These included the National Science Museum and Royal Observatory. Spokespeople were briefed, and questions and answers drawn up as blueprints for interviews. DJs and TV presenters were dispatched to generate interest.

Personalised lunar deeds and specially made 'Moon Rock' were sent to journalists on forward planning and news desks. Thinkconsultancy also commissioned an audio feature to be targeted at regional radio stations on launch day.

Interest was immense as liaison with news production teams and forward planning desks began four days before launch. Over 25 live radio and TV interviews were arranged.

Two executives from Think-consultancy were also drafted in as spokespeople to meet the media demand.



Measurement and Evaluation

MoonEstates.com received blanket coverage on its 8 September launch, including BBC and ITN main bulletins. Other highlights were a prominent feature on Channel 4's Big Breakfast, Meridian Tonight, BBC Newsroom South East and CNBC. In total MoonEstates.com featured in 22 minutes of TV news.

BBC Radio 1, 2, 4 and 5 all conducted interviews and over 60 regional radio stations ran the audio feature, some with live interviews, which amounted to more than two-and-a-half hours of radio coverage on launch day.

Follow-on features have been run in national newspapers and regional radio stations.

Some of the press coverage was questioning of the concept of moon-ownership and cited bodies such as the British National Space Centre, who dismissed the legitimacy of the business.

It said: 'MoonEstates can't sell property on the moon because it isn't theirs to sell. The legal principle of res communis applies to outer space - which means it belongs to everyone.

Not only can it not be appropriated to the sovereignty of the individual states, neither can it be bought and sold by individuals: they simply don't own it in the first place.' However, this still drew attention to the venture.

The net result was 250,000 hits on the MoonEstates.com website in a 24-hour period. The media coverage was so widespread that even the US website was inundated with interested consumers.

Thinkconsultancy then commissioned measurement specialist, Metrica, to evaluate coverage. It was estimated the campaign reached over 100 million consumers and an excess of 65,000 acres of the moon have been sold since the launch. At pounds 15 an acre this means that nearly pounds 1m worth of the great white orb has been sold by the new venture.



Results

Interest in MoonEstates.com was phenomenal and the company is still fulfilling the demand for its lunar deeds.

MoonEstates.com is now using Thinkconsultancy to execute a number of targeted online consumer promotions to maintain momentum in the story and stimulate sales.

As a result of the publicity MoonEstates.com has signed a number of commercial deals including one with super-market chain, Safeway.



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