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.
PR Team: Charlton Communications
Campaign: Pepping up the Net
Timescale: April 1997, ongoing