PR Team: Lewis PR
Campaign: launch of uSwitch
Timescale: October - December 2000
Budget: pounds 40,000
uSwitch.com is the first website to offer free and impartial advice
about gas, electricity and mobile telephony suppliers, while giving
consumers the option to switch suppliers quickly, on and offline.
To help establish strategic partnerships; to reach 25 million people in
the UK and generate brand awareness.
Strategy and Plan
A study by uSwitch marketing director Victoria Lord on internet buyer
behaviour revealed that personal referral is the most effective
communication tactic to build relationships and lead visitors to a site.
This underpinned Lewis' strategy and defined its goals.
A strategy was devised to position uSwitch as a consumer champion,
portraying a friendly face to consumers through the 'Dear Bill'
campaign, which encouraged consumers to contact 'Bill' with gripes about
their current household suppliers.
Real case studies were provided via an intensive media relations
campaign, targeting the national and lifestyle media and news/community
websites and hooking up to seasonal stories.
E-PR, combined with online partnership-building activities, would allow
uSwitch to achieve a strong online presence. Lewis announced uSwitch
partnerships and links to the sites of companies, such as Freeserve.
Accreditations with recognised consumer associations were a key tactic
to build confidence in the proposition. uSwitch announced relationships
with organisations such as consumers association Which?
Opinion-formers were targeted to identify opportunities where they could
help maximise media exposure, through photography, response stories and
third party comment.
Measurement and Evaluation
Lewis reached a readership of 36,181,384 with coverage in almost every
national broadsheet and tabloid, as well as copious broadcast
Public affairs activity generated a high level of interest in the Dear
Bill campaign and supported both regional and national activities.
Over 15 million people were reached in three months through online
activities, including news sites, personal finance sites, major search
engines, and property portals.
Traffic to the uSwitch site increased - the highest number of hits came
on the days that uSwitch was featured in the Sunday Mirror and on
bbc.co.uk (traffic increasing by 37 per cent and 53 per cent
The campaign successfully reached a wide audience through its use of
strategic targeting. Hits on the uSwitch website reflect the interest