Client: John Lewis
PR Team: Mantra, in conjunction with the John Lewis in-house PR team
Campaign: Acquisition of buy.com (UK)
Timescale: 1 February - 11 February
At 9pm GMT on 1 February, buy.com (US) announced that it had signed a letter of intent to sell operations in the UK to a European entity.
The story had reached the UK media early the next day.
Fledgling PR agency Mantra was hired to manage the story from 1 February to the announcement of the acquistion in the UK on 6 February.
To announce the acquisition of buy.com by British retailer John Lewis and convey this as a key point in the latter's e-commerce strategy. To stress that buy.com is a successful dot.com, with a strong business model.
Strategy and Plan
Knowing that John Lewis's AGM was not scheduled until 5 February, it was decided from the outset to hold off on making an announcement to the UK press
Mantra and the John Lewis team worked from 1 February through the weekend gearing up for the announcement by preparing documents, holding a photoshoot and fielding press calls.
The first phase of the announcement was to send releases out under embargo to key press at noon on 5 February and an anouncement was made to John Lewis staff. At this time select radio and broadcast, as well as trade press, were briefed.
Measurement and Evaluation
Almost all the nationals and regional papers picked up on the story.
There was also extensive broadcast and radio interest on the day, when executives from both buy.com and John Lewis spent 6 February in back-to-back TV and radio interviews.
Despite media scepticism about dot.coms, the message that the acquisition of buy.com was a shrewd business move for John Lewis was successfully communicated.
Ongoing features relating to the acquisition have been planned around a 'bricks and clicks' theme.