The Mary-Kate & Ashley brand is the number one girl's brand in the US, with a value of $1bn encompassing TV shows, videos, games, books, dolls, health and beauty products and fashion.
Built around celebrity twins Mary-Kate and Ashley, the brand was relatively unknown in the UK until January 2002, when Jackie Cooper PR launched a massive consumer awareness campaign.
The major challenge was to launch an established brand into a completely new market with no advertising support and no direct access to the girls, before they arrived in the UK. To achieve this, JCPR targeted the broadsheets, mid-market tabloids and the teen media, to build the girls' profiles as major celebrities alongside the brand. This included a number of e-mail interviews with the sisters, secured across teen titles such as Girl Talk, Shout, Go Girl, Blush, Mizz and Star Girl.
Working with all licensee partners a balance was struck between the brand being seen as the next big thing, versus a symbol of US-led globalisation.
When the twins finally arrived in the UK in April, the PR team created a tailored event for them to meet licensee partners and the press, with a specific focus on the launch of the brand's clothing range in George at Asda stores.
This whirlwind visit was maximised through three high-profile interviews with The Sun, The Disney Channel and BBC Breakfast News, plus a 20-minute slot on Tonight with Trevor McDonald.
In six months, the campaign secured more than 150 print and broadcast features and the clothing range has been George at Asda's most successful product launch ever, with £2m in sales since April.
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