On Monday 17 January, commuters entering tube stations in central
London were greeted by the spectacle of half a dozen leather-clad,
helmeted motorbike couriers brandishing placards and handing out
leaflets promoting the action group CADS - Couriers Against Digital
Curious passengers were duped into accepting a leaflet to investigate
what the protest was about, only to discover upon opening that the
leaflet was a slick advert for Hewlett Packard’s (HP) new 9100C digital
sender, and the ’protest’ was a spoof. The digital sender allows the
transfer of ’perfect’ copies of documents - including full colour - to
e-mail addresses, printers, PCs and faxes ’at a fraction of the cost and
time a courier would take’.
To raise the profile of Hewlett Packard’s digital sender; to highlight
the cost savings that business can achieve by using it; to raise HP’s
profile with company IT specifiers, and to profile HP alongside the
issue of knowledge management.
Strategy and Plan
The spoof campaign was the brainchild of marketing group Perspectives -
part of the WPP group - and was executed by PR agency Beattie Media.
Beattie arranged the photography and developed the press release which
was targeted at the business equipment press.
The ’demonstrations’ took place during peak times at high traffic sites
including Liverpool Street, Chancery Lane and St Paul’s tube stations,
from 17-19 January.
The team of placard-wieldin couriers handed out leaflets containing
digital sender information. In addition, 5,000 senior executives in
financial and legal City organisations were targeted with a hand
delivered ’courier’ package containing information about the HP sender
with the message ’you could’ve received this in a fraction of the time,
at a fraction of the cost’.
Rosie Sanders, Perspectives’ digital sender account manager, explained:
’This was a tightly-targeted campaign with potential end-users heavily
concentrated around the City of London.’
Measurement and Evaluation
It is too early to assess media coverage because the target titles of
the campaign are monthly business titles which have not gone to
However, Beattie has already fielded calls from publications interested
in receiving copy and pictures of the demonstration.
A number of Hewlett Packard’s European colleagues have contacted HP UK
to discuss the possibility of launching the same campaign or a variation
of it, in major European cities.
David Smith, product marketing manager for the HP sender, said he was
delighted with the whole concept. ’This was a cutting edge campaign for
a cutting edge product.’
One of the objectives of the campaign was to reach the target audience
of senior executives. The main difficulty in achieving this is getting
past the barrier of the assistant or secretary whose job it is to filter
the post. By making the courier-delivered packages look like important
documents, initial reports suggest that they made it to the desks of the
This cleverly staged campaign managed to achieve all of its initial
objectives; with hundreds of commuters picking up leaflets - at some
tube stations there were even queues to find out what the demonstration
was about. This clearly helped to raise the profile of the company. The
target audience was also reached with the courier-delivered packages to
According to HP’s David Smith: ’It is still early days yet in terms of
whether we achieved our ultimate measures of generating response and in
terms of people requesting further information about the product.
However, we feel that the campaign has been a great success so far.’
The CADS campaign is a good example of marketing and PR agencies working
together to create an amusing and original campaign.
Client: Hewlett Packard
PR Team: Beattie Media
Campaign: CADS - Couriers Against Digital Senders (Hewlett Packard
Digital Sender 9100C)
Timescale: 17-19 January