CAMPAIGNS: Telewest PR launches its 2Mb service - Consumer PR

Client: Telewest Broadband PR Team: In-house Campaign: Trial and launch of 2Mb blueyonder broadband internet Timescale: April - June 2003 Budget: Understood to be in the range of £20,000, plus agency retainer

Cable giant Telewest Broadband launched a trial 2Mb service in April 2003 to meet cyber junkies' demand for a high-speed internet service faster than standard broadband.

To ensure the success of the service, the company set out to educate mainstream consumers about the benefits of ultra-fast internet service, a technology that can be confusing for ordinary computer users.

Objectives

To position Telewest Broadband as the internet thought-leader by meeting consumer demand with a service nearly four times faster than BT, AOL and Freeserve. To make the benefits clear and encourage customers to upgrade.

Strategy and Plan

The campaign began in April to generate interest before the product launch in June.

PR work started with the announcement of a website where a limited number of existing customers could register to try the new service. The Daily Mirror and online news source The Register were targeted to publicise the trial, which proved instrumental to its success.

Creative media relations were key, so Telewest Broadband offered 15 media contacts, ranging from The Guardian to PC Pro, the opportunity to experience ultra-fast web surfing.

Three weeks after the launch of the site, journalists representing a variety of publications, from The Sun to Internet Magazine, received information packets as part of a speed-themed event at Walthamstow Dog Stadium. Telewest Broadband sponsored races named 'The 4x Faster than BT Cup' and 'The blueyonder Download Duel', and treated journalists to food and drinks.

The campaign finale was a photo shoot in London. Fast-living socialite Tara Palmer-Tompkinson was paired with the world's fastest animal, a peregrine falcon. The shoot served as the 2Mb service's official launch and captured widespread press coverage.

Measurement and Evaluation

Coverage of the initial trial registration website featured in several major internet-focused websites, including Digital Spy and Silicone, as well as in The Times, the Daily Mirror, and The Guardian.

The event at the dog stadium and the photo shoot generated more coverage in The Independent, the Daily Star, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and regional titles such as the Birmingham Post.

Results

Within hours of the registration site's birth, all 1,500 spots for the trial service were filled, and overnight 7,000 people expressed interest in the service.

Within one week of the product launch, 2,000 blueyonder customers upgraded their connection to the premium 2Mb service.

Technology magazine Future Home reporter Ashley Norris said: 'One of the key issues for Future Home is the need for a fast broadband connection, so the service is perfect for our readership.' He regarded the dog-racing event as a nice touch, as it made a good image for the magazine.

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