CAMPAIGNS: Web Launch - FlipDog chases

Client: (Provo, UT)

Client: (Provo, UT)

Client: (Provo, UT)

PR Team: MWS Agency (Orem, UT)

Campaign: FlipDog Site Launch

Time Frame: December 1999 to April 2000

Budget: About dollars 150,000

How do you gain media and public attention for a start-up with a modest

budget when another player in the space has already beaten your company

to market and dumped millions into Superbowl ads?

That was the problem the founders of faced when they set out

to launch their online job listings service, which uses special ’Web

crawler’ technology to grab listings off employers’ Web sites.

With already the defined leader in a category cluttered with

competitors, the Provo, UT-based company knew it would have a tough time

generating interest from reporters - especially at the start of the new

year, when hundreds of other dot-coms were set to debut.

To top it off, had also just hired The Weber Group for a

reported dollars 2 million contract to launch a blockbuster national



In December 1999, while the service was still in the beta stage, FlipDog

tapped Orem, UT-based MWS Agency. Together they agreed the best strategy

was to focus on the site’s key benefit: more job listings from more


Because of the crawler technology, FlipDog was able to accumulate

postings from twice as many employers as - before the site

had even officially ’launched’ in April.

’We didn’t necessarily want to do battle on the features level, and as

far as technology, we just wanted to talk about how it made possible

this incredible benefit of more listings immediately,’ says Brett

Walker, FlipDog’s VP of marketing.


MWS outlined a media and analyst campaign that would cut both wide and

deep. The goal was to target the most influential and wide-reaching

journalists, key analysts and opinion leaders with one-on-one meetings

and demos. ’We set up meetings on a press tour with every single

reporter and analyst who was influential in the field, starting with the

syndicated writers and including even the important newsletters,’ says

Cheryl Snapp, principal of MWS Agency.

The materials and pitches started off with the number of jobs listed on

the site, emphasizing that there were many more than on

Some of the early meetings bore fruit. The March 9 Washington Post

column by Leslie Walker was picked up by newspapers around the country.

Similarly, the FlipDog story by Seattle Times columnist Joyce Kennedy

hit in a handful of other publications including the Los Angeles


To cover all the bases, FlipDog also distributed two press releases

announcing its launch and the number of job listings on the site. To

help secure broadcast coverage, the agency released a VNR.


Despite the crowded marketplace, reporters reacted positively to

FlipDog’s benefit proposition of more jobs and free listings for job

seekers and employers. And the firsthand demos persuaded several key

scribes to proclaim the advantages of FlipDog’s service over its rivals.

’FlipDog has passed its nearest competitor in the number of employers

recruiting for jobs online,’ wrote syndicated columnist Joyce Lain

Kennedy, appearing in the Los Angeles Times and several other papers.

Other stories ran in The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch and And the VNR was picked up on top-rated Los Angeles TV

station KTLA.

’They were listing more jobs than any other site and not charging

employers to list jobs, so I thought this was a company worth taking a

look at,’ says columnist Jon Swartz.

In addition, the media coverage drove traffic to the Web site, with more

than 167,000 people visiting FlipDog on April 3, the first day of its

commercial launch.


MWS is coordinating a media tour for broadcast outlets, as well as

putting together several special events.

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