BEP takes to the Web to launch new $5 bill

WASHINGTON: The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) took an Internet-centric approach in launching its newly designed $5 bill on September 20.

WASHINGTON: The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) took an Internet-centric approach in launching its newly designed $5 bill on September 20.

Working with Burson-Marsteller, the BEP unveiled the bill online and held an Internet-only press conference to discuss details.

Julie Borchard, manager of the BEP's public service division, noted that introducing the new bill online helped immediately and efficiently reach the broad, international audience of stakeholders interested in US currency.

"About 60% of the currency circulates outside the US," she said. "This was a good way to reach all interested parties," including foreign central banks, companies involved in money exchange, and travel and tourism industry pros.

The BEP hosted live video of the debut at 9am EST at www.moneyfactory.gov. A webcast that drew 250 people followed, featuring US Treasury, BEP, Federal Reserve, and US Secret Service officials. Borchard said that while the webcast was aimed at reporters, a number of banking representatives listened in.

Borchard added the site typically averages about 13,000 visitors a day, but rose 1,000% on unveiling day. Additionally, there were about 100,000 downloads of materials explaining the note's security features and other characteristics.

Officials also conducted an SMT with various media outlets and produced podcasts archived on the Web site. In addition, the BEP also hosted a digital countdown clock on its Web site showing the time left until the unveiling.

New features include two watermarks with the numeral 5 and the security thread in a new location. The oval borders that surround the images of Lincoln and the Memorial have been removed.

Burson, which won a five-year, $36 million contract in December 2006 to manage the introduction of the $5 and $100 notes, referred requests for comment to the BEP.

When and how the new $100 note will be unveiled has yet to be announced, Borchard said.

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