CAMPAIGNS: Web Site Promotion - B&N promotes more than its site

Client: Barnes & Noble.com (New York)

Client: Barnes & Noble.com (New York)

Client: Barnes & Noble.com (New York)



PR Team: Barnes & Noble in-house, Edelman PR Worldwide (New York) and

Teamworks (Phoenix)



Campaign: Barnes & Noble.com on Tour



Time Frame: May 2000 to May 2001



Budget: More than dollars 1 million





Barnes & Noble.com drives awareness about its Web site - with an

80-foot-long truck. The vehicle presents a spectacle as it lumbers into

a new city each weekend, staking out a spot at a festival, sports event

or other weekend happening, flashing its illuminated logo and rolling up

one side to invite the use of 14 desktop computers and show off a wall

of video screens promoting tour sponsors.





Strategy



The PR goal is to encourage the public to visit the truck and ’test

drive new and exciting ways to experience, read and buy books,’ remarks

Barby Siegel of Edelman PR Worldwide. Siegel’s firm is handling the

seven primary markets on the current schedule, while Phoenix-based

Teamworks is overseeing the work in the 35 secondary markets, such as

Cleveland and Detroit.



’The objective is to share with the rest of the country the experience

of being on the Web in a very comfortable and fun way,’ says Lesley

Hess, promotions director of Barnes & Noble.com, who coordinates the

campaign with events manager Tony Larrisey.



To bring a more human touch, Barnes and Noble is gearing up a charitable

effort in which local celebrities will name their favorite childhood

book, and the bookseller will donate it in their name to a needy child

in the area. ’Books are a very comfortable thing for people, technology

is not,’ Hess explains.





Tactics



The online bookseller launched the year-long national tour in May, when

it visited two cities. Siegel kicked off the campaign in St. Louis with

a press release, then pushed hard with follow-up calls to the local

media.



Promotion for the New York appearance followed suit.



During the visits, some of the eight onboard staffers demonstrate Barnes

& Noble.com’s features, the use of e-mail and how to log onto the

Web.



Others show off tour sponsors’ technology, such as how to download books

onto a handheld device with Microsoft Reader; invest via Ameritrade; and

enhance one’s home with items from ourhouse.com, an Ace Hardware Web

site.



In New York, the truck appeared at the Silicon Alley festival, but the

approach was broadened slightly to include a Microsoft press conference

and a giveaway of 200 Harry Potter paperbacks to kids in Harlem.





Results



In the kickoff city, the best coverage was from the TV show KSDK Today

(the number-one rated local morning program in the nation), which did a

studio segment. Also, Show Me St. Louis, an afternoon TV show, and the

daily St. Louis Post Dispatch ran items.



In New York, the book giveaway drew the Amsterdam News, the major

African-American daily. Some 50 reporters turned up at the press

conference. Today in New York, an NBC-affiliate program, did a story.

The trade press responded enthusiastically, with feature stories and

photos. These ran in DM News and iMarketing News, hard-copy and online

direct marketing pubs; Brandweek, which also covered the tour sponsors;

and notara.com, an online marketing publication.



None of this coverage is huge but ’the public’s response has been

tremendous,’ says Larrisey, with roughly 15,000 people visiting the

truck each weekend.



Their attitudes are building brand awareness. They tell the staff ’they

didn’t realize how easy it is to purchase online,’ Larrisey adds.





Future



Over the year, the team will pursue the same strategy and tactics,

pushing for more pre-event coverage. It will also concentrate on

developing the book giveaway.



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