Consumer: Innovative design puts university inspotlight

Campaign: Square-eyes Client: Brunel University PR Team: Fuse PR Timescale: May-June 2005 Budget: £6,000

Fuse PR has worked with retained client Brunel University for four years, each year promoting the university's annual Design Show. As part of their final year submissions, students must create a design catering for a gap in the consumer market. The Fuse team reviewed more than 100 final-year projects in May, identifying several that had strong commercial potential and could also be linked with a current media issue.

It chose Square-eyes, an insole for children's shoes that records the amount of exercise a child does in a day and calculates it into a TV watching time reward. This stood out as it coincided with media coverage over concerns about increasing levels of child obesity.

Objectives

To position Brunel as a centre of excellence for design, offering a quality learning experience to students. To attract commercial interest by highlighting individual designs from the show.

Strategy and Plan

Fuse PR issued a press release to coincide with half-term and targeted national newspapers to reach a target audience of academics, students, parents, collaborators and potential university fundraisers. The team worked closely with student Gillian Swan, who created the product, to prepare and train her for media interest. A news alert was developed, alongside creative imagery, and an intensive interview schedule was secured.

Measurement and Evaluation

Print coverage was secured in Metro, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Star, Belfast Telegraph, Scottish Daily Mail and New Scientist. Swan also gave more than 40 national and international radio and broadcast interviews to the likes of GMTV, London Tonight, Five News and CBBC's Newsround.

International shows ABC Good Morning America and ABC News subsequently covered the story. All coverage, evaluated in-house using Fuse's Smart Results measurement system, was positive and on-message.

Results

Since the end of the campaign, Swan has secured a placement opportunity with a high-street shoe retailer. CNN's Julie Clothier wrote a piece for Spark, a monthly technology programme on CNN International and ran the story on its website's 'Bright Sparks' section that profiles inventors and their creations.

'We were first alerted to the Square-eyes story after Fuse PR sent the press release. Fuse has proven to be an invaluable PR contact. The story appeared on the site as a Bright Spark,' she says. 'On the day it ran, it was one of the top 100 stories on the CNN International website.'

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