PCLive utilizes viral videos to enter crowded help field

When PCLive.com launched its online technical support, it sought to enter a crowded market already dominated by big players like Best Buy's popular "Geek Squad" and Support.com.

When PCLive.com launched its online technical support, it sought to enter a crowded market already dominated by big players like Best Buy's popular "Geek Squad" and Support.com.

The company wanted a way to reach its core market with a catchy, memorable campaign that demonstrated the tech know-how of the brand.

It also sought to develop an initiative that would engage users and include a viral component.

Strategy
Tech Image and Liggett Stashower (LS) developed videos poking fun at people's computer dependence.

"We soft-launched PCLive using the viral videos to [help] create buzz in advance of the national launch to test messaging and tweak the product offering," says Mike Nikolich, president of Tech Image.

Tactics

The PR team uploaded two videos: "Laptop Freakout," a grainy video of a man at a cafŽ suffering a breakdown when his PC crashes, and "Fatal Error," a horror-film parody, to YouTube and other sites.

PCLive also embarked on a national media tour, featuring Dan Gookin, author of PC for Dummies and Troubleshooting Your PC for Dummies.

Results
The campaign resulted in a dozen interviews with tech reporters, including top-tier business press.

"While the videos created some buzz on sites [like] You Tube and even a spot on Inside Edition, placements in traditional media like PC World were far more effective in driving traffic to our Web site," says Robert O'Dell, president and CEO of PCLive.com.

PCLive.com has also received more than 32,320 hits since "Laptop Freakout" was uploaded. "[Tech Image has] definitely helped us raise our visibility to both new and existing customers," notes O'Dell.

Future
Tech Image remains PCLive's AOR and continues working with LS on other projects. A follow-up PR campaign is scheduled to take place in late April.

PR Team: PCLive.com (Cedar Rapids, IA), Tech Image (Chicago), and Liggett Stashower (Cleveland)
Campaign: PCLive.com launch
Duration: October 2007-present
Budget: $130,000

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