Campaign: Brunel puts vivatap on the pages of UK media - Healthcare PR

Campaign: Launch of vivatap Client: Brunel Healthcare PR team: Bloomsbury Communications Timescale: March-October 2004 Budget: £35,000

After gaining the UK distribution rights for Norwegian water-improvement product vivatap, Brunel Healthcare charged its retained agency Bloomsbury Communications with the promotion. In launching vivatap, a sachet product that is added to tap water to remove chlorine and improve its taste, Brunel decided not to support the product's launch with advertising, making PR the crucial tool in its promotion.

Objectives

To explain to the media what the product does. To increase distribution and sales.

Strategy and Plan

Bloomsbury wanted two key elements of the product to be promoted to its key target audience of ABC1 women through the media. The first was its role in the public health debate about the importance of drinking water; the second was its Norwegian origin, which promoted an image of health and purity among consumers.

A launch event was planned at the Norwegian ambassador's London residence in June. This took the form of a panel discussion involving broadcaster and journalist Mariella Frostrup, who comes from Norway, nutritionist Jane Griffin and Department of Health public health adviser Dr Charlie Easmon. All were selected for their appeal to the target audience.

A raft of women's consumer magazines and national newspapers with a high female ABC1 readership were invited to the launch, as were broadcast media.

As well as being given the opportunity to discuss the importance of drinking water, the journalists were given a demonstration of the product and the chance to taste its effect.

Measurement and Evaluation

The event was covered by the print media, including The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror, The Independent on Sunday, OK!, Woman's Own, Parenting, Take A Break, She and Good Health.

The 3 July Daily Telegraph article, with the headline 'Now tap water can taste like it's out of the bottle', was typical of the coverage.

However, the broadcast media invited did not attend. Bloomsbury account director Melissa Neal concedes that the story was 'mainly a print story and didn't really work for broadcast'. She adds that appealing to the broadcast media is something that is being addressed by Bloomsbury for a further promotional push that is being planned for next year.

According to in-house evaluation, all coverage mentioned vivatap and all mentions were positive.

Results

No sales figures are available, although an early indication of the success of the campaign is the fact that Boots doubled the number of standing displays of the product between the launch and the end of last month, from 657 displays to 1,200.

Barbara Lantin, a freelance health journalist who covered the story for The Daily Telegraph, says: 'I thought the launch was well organised, carefully focused and, most importantly, gave me all the material I required to write a piece that afternoon for the following day's paper.'

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