Virgin seeks to capture stores' appeal in 'Mashup' newsroom

Virgin Megastores have evolved into a hangout for those interested in music, movies, and fashion.

Virgin Megastores have evolved into a hangout for those interested in music, movies, and fashion.

To extend the brand among consumers and the media, Virgin wanted to re-create its brick-and-mortar relevance in the online space. To do so, Virgin worked with PR partner SJ Communications to develop a new kind of social-media newsroom - what it calls the "Mashup."

Idea: The concept combines traditional elements of a corporate press room with streaming video, blogging, and other features designed to "get into the social aspects on the Web," says SJ owner Krysty O'Quinn. Consumers can find entertainment news, information about upcoming in-store events, and "Virgin Recommends" artist podcasts, she adds. Journalists get access to press re-leases, executive bios, and breaking news. The Mashup also serves as an interactive marketing vehicle for promotions and will draw attention to the October relaunch of its Virginmega.com retail site.

Tools: SJ first introduced the social-media newsroom to the major outlets that cover Virgin and encouraged feedback, O'Quinn says. Reporters from business and trade outlets including Billboard, The New York Times, and MTV.com were given access to the site. SJ also provided access to college editors and radio stations, as well as Megastores employees. After prompting early users to pass the link along, SJ officially launched the Mashup over the wire. More launch components will follow in coming weeks, O'Quinn says.

Measurement: Success will be measured by the site's traffic and interaction results, as well as the direct responses of reporters.

Company: Virgin Megastores (Virgin Entertainment Group)
Campaign: Launch of social-media "Mashup" newsroom
PR team: SJ Communications, Virgin Megastores (LA)
Other marketing: In-store promotions
Launch: September 5
Budget: Undisclosed

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