PR Team: Neville McCarthy Associates
Campaign: Launch of the Bioform bra
Timescale: October 2000
Budget: pounds 15,000 for launch event
In 1998, as part of the Channel 4 'Designs on Your ...' series, which featured acclaimed industrial designers Richard Seymour and Dick Powell, production company TV6 approached Neville McCarthy Associates' client, Charnos.
It asked them to participate in a programme where Seymour and Powell were challenged to redefine and revolutionise the under-wire bra.
Seymour and Powell were inspired by a frisbee and used a special plastic to support breasts more comfortably. The success of their design so impressed Charnos that the company decided to market and produce the new Bioform bra.
To create interest and awareness in the Bioform bra as a groundbreaking innovation in lingerie, highlighting its up-lifting benefits. To create demand for the bra in the lead up to and following its launch.
Strategy and Plan
When co-ordinating the PR strategy, it was agreed with the client not to use a celebrity to endorse the bra, not least because of the cost but also to position the bra itself at the centre of the campaign.
The agency also felt that British women were fed up with 'in-your-face' sexually provocative campaigns that have been 'done to death'.
Given the unique design aspect, it was decided that the press launch would take place at the Design Council in Bow Street, London. The venue cost nothing, except for dressing and catering.
Charnos managing director Tony Hodges, Seymour and Powell attended the launch, gave presentations to the media and were available for interviews and photographs.
The bra was due to go on sale on 25 October and Channel Four was scheduled to run a follow-up programme to 'Designs on Your ...' on 24 October. The programme focused on how Charnos and the designers had spent the last two years developing the bra and preparing it for mass production.
With these dates in mind, press releases (apart from TV previews and listings) were embargoed until the press launch on 23 October.
Neville McCarthy oversaw the production of press materials including the press kit folder and photography, and worked closely with the advertising agency in prod-ucing visuals (the advertising campaign is due to launch in spring 2001).
The agency also worked closely with the designers and Channel 4 to generate as much print and broadcast publicity as possible.
A week prior to the launch, the story was fed to the Sunday Times and Daily Mail. This sparked more interest in the national and regional media.
The launch event was attended by over 100 reporters, trade journalists, fashion, design and features editors and television crews.
Measurement and Evaluation
Cutting Edge conducted formal media evaluation.
Blanket coverage was achieved in newspapers, including the Daily Mail, the Express, the Mirror, the Evening Standard, Metro, the Daily Telegraph, the Times and the Sun.
Features are planned in many of the nationals. The regional media also covered the launch, including the Yorkshire Post, which ran a full-page feature. Broadcast coverage included Sky, Channel 5, GMTV and Virgin Radio, Heart and Radio 2.
Many stores have already sold out of the bra and Charnos received 10,000 repeat orders in the first week of its launch.
On a relatively small budget, albeit with the added support of the Channel 4 programmes, the campaign achieved extensive coverage and sales figures that speak for themselves.
The refusal of the campaign to use a celebrity worked in its favour and ensured that the bra was very much the focus of attention.