CAMPAIGNS: Personal equity plans go on-line - Financial PR

There has been much excitement about the phasing out of PEPs and the introduction of Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) this week, but the move has also marked the end of a successful on-line campaign.

There has been much excitement about the phasing out of PEPs and

the introduction of Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) this week, but

the move has also marked the end of a successful on-line campaign.

NetPEP was set up in April 1997 as the UK’s first exclusively

internet-based PEP and unit trust as the brainchild of venture capital

firm MBO Advisory Partners. It was set up to give on-line investors the

chance to buy a PEP without the high investment management fees charged

by conventional paper-based PEPS. With the deadline for starting up a

PEP only two years away Charlton Communications was given the task of

attracting new investors to netPEP.


To raise the profile of the opportunity to buy PEPs on-line and assure

investors that internet-based financial advice is risk-free and has the

on-line advantage over paper-based PEPs. To communicate with all

personal investors and raise awareness of netPEP, and encourage

prospective investors to visit the web site.


Financial sections of the national dailies were targeted alongside

specialist financial and personal investment publications. Link-ups were

also made with larger, higher profile organisations to target potential


For example, netPEP linked up with Cable and Wireless Communications in

an exclusive deal to give potential new investors the chance to cut

their investment charges through its Insite on-line newsletter. Anyone

taking out a new PEP with netPEP received their first year’s

subscription for free.

A promotion was also organised with Vogue to offer its on-line readers

instant access to the world of financial investment. The move followed

research by Vogue which showed that the number of affluent young

professionals who want to know more about how to invest wisely was

increasing. According to Vogue’s research, more women in this sector

want to take control of their investments and want faster and easier

access to information.

The web site explains how readers can make their money work for them and

demonstrates why netPEP’s products meet the needs of the busy 1990s

investor. On-line readers were able to find netPEP’s pages as part of

the Vogue web site.

NetPEP also set up the UK’s first charity-linked PEP on-line in an

initiative between Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

NetPEP is helping the charity raise funds for sick children by

contributing the first year’s annual fee on every PEP bought through the

charity’s web site.


Extensive coverage has been secured in all the major national dailies

and Sunday papers. One piece in the Sunday Times brought more than 2,000

hits to the web site. There have been up to 40,000 hits monthly.

Coverage was also secured in specialist financial finance publications

including Investors Chronicle and Money Marketing.

NetPEP prepared for the phasing out of PEPs and the launch of the

Government’s alternative savings scheme by launching another web site

netISA - to provide a forum for questions about the transition. It will

again be relying on the power of PR to pull in the punters.


The launch of netPEP was well-timed, and benefited hundreds of internet

investors. The company attracted investment of more than pounds 2.5

million in its first year, using PR as its sole means of promotion.

Client: netPEP

PR Team: Charlton Communications

Campaign: Pepping up the Net

Timescale: April 1997, ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed

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