PR WEEK AWARDS 2001: Campaign - Hi-Tech Campaign of the Year 2001 Sponsored by GCI.




OutCast Communications with - 'The End of Software'

Imagine trying to help a tiny, unproven start-up make a name for itself in a field already dominated by two established mega-million-dollar brands.

That's the challenge OutCast Communications faced last winter when it took on the launch of

San Francisco-based competes head-to-head with Oracle and Siebel, whose enterprise software systems are more expensive than's Internet-based solutions.

Not only did need to make noise in an already crowded Internet business-to-business sector, it also had to sell a controversial message: that enterprise software was a thing of the past.

Such a challenge called for guerrilla marketing/PR, so the agency and client committed themselves to a campaign centered on the idea of enterprise software as an antiquated technology.

February's DEMO 2000 trade show marked the kick-off for the 'End of Software' campaign. DEMO, a premiere event for new products and companies, provided with visibility among industry peers, as well as accessibility to key trade and business press. In fact, the company walked away from the show with the honor of being named a 'Company to Watch.'

Phase two of the campaign began just a few weeks later, with mock demonstrations and an official 'coming out party.' On February 22, the day of the party, OutCast hired 25 'protesters' to march in front of the Siebel Systems user conference in San Francisco, carrying 'death to software' signs and chanting anti-software slogans at attendees.

That evening, hosted a huge, military-themed party featuring the rock band The B-52s. Continuing the 'End of Software' theme, guests were asked to donate a piece of old software for the trash bin as an admittance ticket, and games included a 'Throw the disk in the toilet' contest.

In following days and weeks, OutCast took advantage of the buzz surrounding these headline-making events by touching base with the more than 30 reporters and editors who attended the party, and continuing outreach to key media.

The result of the campaign and follow-up exceeded all expectations: the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times and C/Net all wrote about, the protests and the party.

Overall, more than 100 articles appeared in the business, tech and vertical sales press. Perhaps more importantly, within two weeks of its official debut, had more than 1,000 organizations signed up for its service, most of whom had learned about it from reading about the launch.


Murphy O'Brien with Ashley Power - 'Ashley Power: Teen Entrepreneur'

To help latecomer win teen audience share, Murphy O'Brien created a campaign highlighting the Web site's teenage founder and CEO, aka 'Ashley Power: Teen Entrepreneur.' It focused on the fact that, unlike teen sites run by adults,'s content was under the editorial control of its teenage CEO. The agency prepared two press kits for the launch, one for print media and an electronic version for broadcast. Coverage included spots on Entertainment Tonight and the Donny & Marie Show. The campaign was so successful that was contacted by several Hollywood studios.

Winner 2000: Buck & Pulleyn with Voyetra Turtle Beach - Turtle Beach Quadzilla launch

The Award

Honors the best in a category open to both business-to-business and consumer-oriented hi-tech campaigns.


- BSMG/Financial Relations Board with 137 Clients - 'Virtual CEO Summit'

- Murphy O'Brien with Ashley Power - 'Ashley Power: Teen Entrepreneur'

- OutCast Communications with - 'The End of Software'

- PainePR with Iomega Corporation - Iomega repositioning and consumer electronics introduction

- PR21 with - 'Messiest College Apartment Contest'


It seems like a new technology is introduced every day. As a leader in hi-tech, GCI is well aware of the increasing difficulty in making a client's product stand out from the thousands around it. We are happy to slow the pace of progress for one day, at least, to congratulate the team that made us take notice of one particular achievement.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in