Campaign: Launch of expatshopping.com
PR Team: Appeal Consultancy
Timescale: March 2000 - ongoing
Budget: pounds 15,000 (launch budget)
Expatshopping.com is a new internet shopping venture launched by two
ex-soldiers. The company was set up to sell quintessentially British
products such as Marmite, Bisto and baked beans to the millions of
expats living abroad, via the internet.
To raise awareness of the venture, and particularly the web site
address, nationally and internationally. To stress the business
credibility of a dot.com service in an uncertain environment and to
encourage potential future investment and strategic partnerships with UK
Strategy and Plan
In a congested dot.com news agenda, Appeal needed to differentiate
com. The agency decided to focus on the personalities of the founding
partners, ex-soldiers Richard Finch and Simon Aldrich, giving the
company a solid, down-to-earth image rather than the ’techie’ feel often
associated with new internet ventures.
Photography was identified as a key factor in achieving coverage, so
Appeal commissioned a former regional picture editor to create an image
that would appeal to both news and consumer media.
With no budget to travel to Kenya, the photographer did the next best
thing and created a shot of Aldrich in pith helmet and safari jacket in
a tropical garden.
To break the story Appeal approached the regional business press
The strength of the photography meant that the story made the front page
of the York Evening Press under the headline ’It ain’t half dot
Appeal used this success to drive interest among the news agencies,
including local agency Ross Parry, and newswires including PA. It also
faxed national and expatriate newspapers, broadcast and on-line media
with the story.
To differentiate expatshopping.com from other dot.com enterprises,
Appeal wanted to stress that the company was already profitable and
commissioned an agency to fax 2,500 likely customers with order forms by
targeting UK companies and consulates abroad. This gave sufficient
orders for the agency to inform the media that expatshopping.com was
already turning in a profit.
As well as consumers, another key target were potential investors and
the dot.com community. Appeal offered an exclusive to Sunday Business on
the business aspects of the venture, which led to a picture story.
Measurement and Evaluation
The front page lead in the York Evening Press led to coverage in the
Times, the Express and the Daily Mail. Radio coverage has included Today
on BBC Radio 4, Capital FM and British Forces Broadcasting Service. Sky
News covered the story on an e-commerce news feature. International
coverage gained included US expat publication The Union Jack, the
International Express and the Weekly Telegraph. World Online also made
expatshopping.com its site of the week. Further coverage is still coming
On its first day of trading expatshopping.com received over 250,000 hits
and made a trading profit on its first morning. Orders in the first week
were 600 per cent up on projections. By Saturday 15 April the site had
received over 600,000 hits.
In an overcrowded dot.com marketplace, and at a time when internet
ventures are being greeted with some cynicism, expatshopping. com has
managed to stand out from the crowd and receive positive coverage. The
campaign managed to garner the attention of potential investors,
potential strategic partners in the UK as well as potential expat
Appeal says that some major UK companies have since expressed an
interest in endorsing the venture.