CAMPAIGNS: Web Site Launch - Netting Brit essentials for expats



Campaign: Launch of

PR Team: Appeal Consultancy

Timescale: March 2000 - ongoing

Budget: pounds 15,000 (launch budget) 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 service in an uncertain environment and to

encourage potential future investment and strategic partnerships with UK


Strategy and Plan

In a congested 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 from other 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 was

already turning in a profit.

As well as consumers, another key target were potential investors and

the 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 its site of the week. Further coverage is still coming



On its first day of trading 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 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.

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