When PlayIt OwnIt Ltd. subsidiary PokerShare.com launched last August, it was one of an estimated 400 Web sites vying for online players' attention and dollars.
While the client knew its business model offered something different - a percentage of the profits - it needed potential players to get that message, too. PokerShare.com enlisted PopCulture Public Relations to help differentiate it in the crowded market.
PopCulture embraced the aggressive market head-on, says agency principal Darren Shuster. The firm - supported by PokerShare.com CEO Lucan Toh - adopted the mantra "hyper-competition breeds innovation."
In the first phase of the campaign, PopCulture sought legitimacy from traditional business media, Shuster says, relying on key contacts rather than press releases. Phase two, targeting mainstream media, focused on a stunt: Encourage a town with a poker-related name to officially re-dub itself PokerShare, reflected on letterhead and signage. In exchange, PokerShare.com would donate $100,000 toward improving the town's education programs. The firm made presentations to local decision makers in five communities, including Bluff, UT, and Sharer, KY.
Phase one was definitely a success, says Shuster. The story broke on CBS' MarketWatch, followed by other hard financial news outlets. As for phase two, a town has yet to change its name. But exposure and "memberships went way up," Shuster says. "And we got it out in front of a lot of influencers."
PokerShare.com and PopCulture will continue to expand the brand, especially via publicity events. "We're about to plant the PokerShare.com flag in the ice" of five-resident Bluff, AK, Shuster says.
PR team: PokerShare.com (London and Gibraltar) and PopCulture Public Relations (Woodland Hills, CA)
Campaign: PokerShare.com launch
Duration: August to December 2005
Budget: Approximately $50,000