IT player Saitek makes a mainstream splash

Saitek, a PC and gaming peripherals business, is relatively unknown beyond the sector.

Campaign Portable audio launch
Client Saitek
PR team Chocolate Communications
Timescale August 2005-February 2006
Budget Under £20,000 

Last year the company produced its first range of portable audio products, including wireless headphones and a set of cordless PC speakers, and wanted to promote them to a broader market.

After a competitive pitch, the US firm appointed Chocolate Communications to publicise its first foray into the general consumer electronics market.

Objectives
To launch the range of products within the already crowded personal audio market and create brand awareness of Saitek among ABC1 men and tech-savvy women.

Strategy and Plan
One challenge for the PR team was selling the products' black 'space age' design - a stark contrast to the white iPod, synonymous with portable audio kit. Chocolate also faced problems  managing media expectations when shipping delays limited the number of devices available for review articles.

To overcome these issues, Chocolate undertook a three-day media tour of London publishing houses, demonstrating the product line to quality technology and lifestyle titles, including Web User, GQ, Glamour and Condé Nast Traveller.

To create buzz and compensate for a further distribution problem (Saitek's products were not stocked by the major high-street retail chains until the fourth month of the campaign, in November), Chocolate seeded interest with websites and blog portals used by 'early adopters'. These included Cnet.co.uk and women's gadget site Shinyshiny.tv.

The second part of the campaign involved tailoring press releases to specific media. Style magazines, for instance, were told how Saitek was breaking the 'white iPod trend', and were introduced to Saitek's Bristol-based design team. Messages for travel media, on the other hand, focused on the products' convenient small size and portability.

Chocolate then delivered samples of the products to the magazines it had met on the publishing-house tour, as well as other relevant titles such as T3, Stuff and What Hi-Fi?, and national newspapers.

Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign resulted in 65 articles over six months. Highlights included three mentions on The Sun Online, inclusion on the News of The World's gadget page, a write-up in GQ and a five-star review in What Hi-Fi?.

Interest also came from the Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, Design Week, Boys' Toys, Total Mobile, Nuts and Arena.

Results
By the second month of the campaign, Saitek reported an 80 per cent rise in traffic to its website, and in December its wireless speakers became the website's biggest seller.

Saitek is pleased enough with the outcome to have signed Chocolate on a further one-year contract across its audio and PC peripherals portfolio.

The Sun Online features editor Jonathan Weinberg says his interest in the products was sparked by their 'funky' design and the fact that the PR team visited him personally.

He adds: 'The Chocolate people were friendly, and knew what they were talking about and which messages to push.'

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