CAMPAIGNS: Web Launch - Search service grabs eyeballs

Client: (New York City)

Client: (New York City)

Client: (New York City)

PR Team: Cohn & Wolfe (New York City)

Campaign: Internet bookmark site launch

Time Frame: Soft launch: July/August 1999; hard launch: Oct. 6, 1999

Budget: Less than dollars 100,000 (first phase)

With dot-coms seemingly everywhere these days, it takes a bold campaign

to make a new start-up catch the public’s eye. That was the challenge

facing - a new online service that allows users to share

search results on topics of interest and to access from any browser

their own bookmarks (which, because they’re on the hard drive, are

usually only available on your own machine).


PR agency Cohn & Wolfe decided on a soup-to-nuts campaign - doing

everything from corporate ID to branding, creating key messages and

handling media training and media relations.

One of the first lines of attack was to make a splash at the Internet

World trade show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The first

day of the show, October 6, was slated as’s hard launch.

Central to getting the message across was’s belief that the

Internet is getting too unwieldy and corporate, taking power away from


The PR team’s goal was to show that could help Internet users

who are frustrated with the technology used by current search



A centerpiece of the campaign was to have actors dressed up as

’cyberpages’ at Internet World - they looked like postmodern Wizard of

Oz Tinmen in silver-color costumes with blinking lights. The cyberpages

handed out 5,000 paper bookmarks with descriptions of how to enter an

online sweepstakes at the web site. Distribution was also done

at after-show parties.

The agency designed its press kits in tubes, which when opened played

electronic applause. A billboard truck and a projection truck drove

around the city to raise’s profile.

In an ANR, futurist and author Marian Salzman spoke of the need for a

web-based platform for bookmarks. And, finally, the agency spearheaded

an e-mail marketing campaign that showed two cartoon characters

appearing frustrated surfing the Internet until they used


So far, the campaign has led to pickups by, which ran a photo

of’s cyberpages with a roundup story about the trade show; AP,

which ran a photo of the cyberpages on its wire (the photo was used by

the Dallas Morning News); and by CNET Central TV, Wired and

On November 11, The New York Times Circuits section ran a brief.


After gets additional financing, a second phase of PR is

planned that will include an issue-oriented campaign - ’Free the Net’


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