CAMPAIGNS: iAC system is promoted as a safety issue - Tech Launch

Client: Citizen Card PR Team: Kaizo Campaign: Launch of interactiveAgeCheck (iAC), an electronic age verification system Timescale: February - May 2003 Budget: Understood to be in the low five figures

Parents have long found it difficult to monitor the internet sites their children log on to, yet the need to do so has become even more important with the increase in reports that children could be targeted by paedophiles tracking them through chat rooms.

InteractiveAgeCheck is an internet-based software package designed to allow retailers to bar children from using their online services, by checking the details of their teenage photo-ID CitizenCard. This initiative is operated by the Association of Convenience Stores, Camelot, Experian, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, Ladbrokes, Somerfield and the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association.

Objective

To generate interest for InteractiveAgeCheck among internet retailers, parents and children.

Strategy and Plan

CitizenCard is a non-profit making organisation, so the PR campaign was its only marketing tool. The PR team had to be careful not to leave itself open to accusations of opportunism, as it was promoting a product on the back of a serious problem

Kaizo account director Zoe Hatton said the team did a lot of groundwork and research into the issue. 'It was a case of working with people in the right areas to get their endorsement,' she explained. As a result, the agency obtained the backing of National Children's Homes and the Home Office. It also used clips from the Central Office of Information's recent ad campaign warning parents about the danger of net paedophiles.

In addition to issuing a press release, Kaizo held a launch event to show how the product worked to make the internet safer for children, by commissioning a video presentation and a video news release.

Measurement and Evaluation

The campaign generated 16 radio spots on programmes such as Radio 1's Newsbeat, IRN, Radio Wales and Talksport. It was also covered on BBC London News and Sky News.

The story obtained a lot of local press coverage through placement on PA's wire service, with 15 stories across the UK in papers such as the Aberdeen Press and Journal and the Liverpool Echo. The launch also had 15 pieces of online coverage, taking in sites such as Gambling Magazine Online and industry magazines such as PC Advisor and New Media Age.

Coverage was evaluated using Kaizo's own ValueFlow tool, Factiva, and information from PA Newswire.

Results

As a result of the campaign five retailers signed up, with another 32 expressing an interest. Almost 40,000 people applied for a CitizenCard in the two weeks following the campaign, which the client regarded as a considerable increase.

PA Newswire home affairs correspondent David Barrett said the campaign worked well: 'At the launch event they had lined up some very quotable interviewees, and while I tend to sigh when videos are put on, this one was better than most.'

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