CAMPAIGNS: Product Launch - debut tactics reap reward


PR Team: Lewis PR

Campaign: launch of uSwitch

Timescale: October - December 2000

Budget: pounds 40,000 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 (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


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