PR team: Starz Entertainment Group (Englewood, CO) and Brodeur Worldwide (Boston)
Campaign: Launch of Vongo
Duration: October 2005 to March 2006
When Starz Entertainment Group decided to launch Vongo, its new Windows-based, movie subscription service, at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it knew that it would need to work hard to stand out in a sea of other product launches.
It turned to Brodeur Worldwide to help navigate opportunities in targeting the media and analyst communities so that it could be a lead story coming out of CES.
The first order of business was to figure out the best time to announce the launch. "Timing is absolutely critical," says Eric Becker, Starz executive director of corporate communications. "It's very difficult to break through the clutter." Typically, companies announce product launches the day before CES starts, but the team decided to reveal Vongo a day earlier than that, January 3. "Our strategy was to get the story out a few days before and use that to build momentum going into the show," says Mike Brewer, EVP and founder of the consumer team at Brodeur.
The PR team began working with reporters and analysts in October. It was important to target analysts, Brewer says, because some had been skeptical of the idea in the past. The team held desk-side briefings because the topic required demonstration. Reporters were briefed under a non-disclosure agreement and told they couldn't file stories until January 3.
Vongo's launch received coverage in USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hollywood Reporter, and its Web site received nearly 500,000 hits. In addition, Forrester, one of the harshest critics of the movie download business, issued a brief in favor of Microsoft's partnership with Vongo.
Starz has since retained Brodeur as its AOR, and the agency is working on announcing several partnerships between Vongo and electronics manufacturers.