Campaign: Digital - Ten questions that left Jeeves baffled

Campaign: Ask Jeeves Unanswerables
Client: Ask Jeeves
PR team: In-house, Moonshine Media, Charlotte Sutton PR and specialist
news services
Timescale: October 2010
Budget: £15,000

Ask Jeeves, the question and answer search engine, wanted to celebrate its tenth anniversary by revealing the top ten unanswerable questions of the past decade, on topics ranging from the death of Tony Soprano to the existence of God.


- To raise awareness of ten years of Jeeves and Q&A

- To drive social media buzz and increase user involvement

- To increase Twitter followers and traffic to the Jeeves Facebook page.

Strategy and plan

A microsite was set up for users to post their own answers to the top ten unanswerable questions, with the best answer for each winning an iPad.

Celebrity and expert chats were set up on Jeeves' Facebook page to debate the big unanswered questions. This was supported by a strong presence on Twitter promoting the initiative.

Throughout October a panel of ten celebrity experts hosted live chat forums on Facebook, each tackling one of the unanswerable questions.

Celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke discussed 'do blondes have more fun?', while Sunday Mirror TV critic Kevin O'Sullivan debated 'did Tony Soprano die?'.

Theologian Dr David Wilkinson tackled 'is there a God?' and TV presenter and founder Sarah Beeny took on 'what is love?'. Celebrity astrologer Russell Grant debated 'is there anyone out there?'.

Media coverage directed users to the microsite where they could post their answers to the questions and be in with a chance of winning an iPad.

Users were also given the option of tweeting their answers and sharing them on Facebook.

The campaign was supported with advertising on Facebook and across the Google display network.

A question of the day promotion box on the homepage helped draw attention to the questions over a ten-day period.

This generated an average daily click-through rate of ten per cent and peaked at 11 per cent, almost double the usual click-through rate outside of the campaign period.

Measurement and evaluation

The campaign was covered by media outlets including the BBC, the Mirror, The Daily Telegraph, Media Guardian and Radio 5 Live, and in more specialist titles and websites such as Martial Arts Planet, the Religious Times, and Bodyfit magazine. In total, there were 150 media articles on the story.


In four weeks, the campaign saw 5,400 answers posted on the site, and 3,300 registrations. There were nearly 45,000 visits to the core site through the campaign and the Jeeves Twitter feed doubled its number of followers. The Jeeves page on Facebook generated 700 'likes'.


This was an excellent social media campaign and all involved should be congratulated. I particularly liked its relevance.

Any social media campaign needs a creative idea at its core to achieve any degree of 'purchase' among the mass of online noise.

Brands have achieved this in many ways, from roller-skating babies for bottled water to meerkats for price comparison sites. But the idea behind this campaign was a perfect match for the brand - asking questions for a search engine.

I liked the use of celebrity experts to exploit their online fame and particularly impressive was the carry-through to offline mass media to boost awareness. The depth of monitoring and evaluation was good, giving some credible measure of return on investment.

If I was to add anything, it would be for some richer content. The campaign was quite one-dimensional, very much words and copy based. There are countless videos and images available relevant to the questions and it would have added more interest to have linked them.

It would be interesting to know the way the unanswerables were chosen. It may have been possible to crowd source the questions, which would have been a great extension to the campaign.

As well as the reported results, which are primarily numbers, it would have been good to see some qualitative data. What was the sentiment of the buzz and how much of it was positive? But these are mere quibbles; this was a great campaign.

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