PR WEEK AWARDS 2001: Craft - New Media Site of the Year 2001 Sponsored by MediaMap.




New Line Cinema - Lord of the Rings

For several generations, JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings has been more than a fictional trilogy. It has provided the basis for a shared community of the imagination, many of whose members have found one another on the World Wide Web. At least 1,000 sites devoted to Rings lore currently flourish online.

With these aficionados in mind, New Line Cinema made the Internet the primary advance promotional and marketing focus for the forthcoming launch of a movie version of the famed trilogy.

In April 2000, more than a year and a half before the scheduled release of the first Rings movie, New Line made both Internet and film marketing history by unveiling five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the film exclusively on its Lord of the Rings Web site.

More than 1.7 million people downloaded the footage in the first 24 hours, eclipsing the previous record for film promotion downloads (1.0 million), set by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Within the first 21 days, more than 10 million people had downloaded the Rings footage, and traffic at the site has continued as visitors returned frequently for updated content and information about the film.

While most promotional Web sites for upcoming films are simple advertisements, the genesis of the Rings online effort is an example of a truly grass roots, community-based approach to audience outreach.

New Line's publicity and marketing team immersed themselves in more than 1,000 fan sites and user groups to choose 40 to 50 core sites as the campaign's focus. Working with site operators, they strategically leaked information about the project, answered questions and catered to an insatiable appetite for information.

To broaden its outreach, New Line also approached mainstream distribution partners to help build crossover interest that would take the project beyond its initial fan base.

Chief among these partners was E! Online, one of the Internet's top 10 entertainment destinations. To date, tens of millions of fans have visited the E! site and paged through coverage, including monthly updates and behind-the-scenes diaries filed directly from the movie set in New Zealand.

New Line also formed a partnership with NeoPlanet to create a customized Web browser which has been downloaded by over 100,000 fans.

Press coverage has been staggering, and not just online. There were two volumes of print clips alone with the entry. In the coming months before the film's worldwide release, New Line will continue to use its Web campaign to build excitement about the movie. The challenge now is to ensure the film is not overhyped.

[BX] Honorable Mention

Dallabrida & Associates -

Although the number of deaths from AIDS has declined, the AIDS crisis is far from over. More people than ever now live with HIV, and infection rates are soaring among African-Americans, Latinos and women - groups often lacking access to vital health advice and support. Dallabrida & Associates created PositiveWords.

com, an online newsletter to assist community-based service groups working with AIDS. Community based groups around the country use Positive to produce print-ready HIV/AIDs treatment education newsletters. More than 350 groups have used the site to disseminate content on AIDS awareness and treatment in English and Spanish, reaching nearly a quarter of a million people with HIV/AIDS.

Winner 200O: San Diego Convention Centre Corporation

The Award

The award recognizes a media site that is either new or has been substantially upgraded during the period of eligibility. Content and technical innovation are judged in context of the target audience and communications objectives. Also considered is the degree to which online and offline activities come together in service of the overall campaign strategy.

Finalists 2001

- Dallabrida & Associates -

- Edelman - John G. Shedd Aquarium

- Fleishman-Hillard and Office of National Drug Control Policy - Freevibe

- New Line Cinema - Lord of the Rings

- PepperCom and - 17 to 1: Makes an American Leap

- UGO Networks - Gary Coleman Web-a-Thon


MediaMap, the Internet PR resource, is the leading provider of media intelligence and Internet solutions to the public relations industry, serving more than half the PR agencies and thousands of corporate PR professionals. The first company to deliver an e-business public relations solution, it provides marketing professionals with accurate, up-to-date media contact information through products such as MediaMap Online.

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