In 2003, Calor sought to solve Scotland's midge problem, with the launch of a new gas-fuelled midge-catching device, the Midgeater, retailing at £999.
The energy specialist tasked its retained PR agency, Aberdeen-based The PR Partnership, to establish a market for the gadget and launch the product to the Scottish tourism sector. The initial target was to generate 100 orders for the Midgeater between June and August 2003.
Because of a limited promotional budget of under £25,000, the PR team focused on a one-day product launch, supported by media releases, leaflets, promotional items and a website.
To establish that Scotland does indeed have a midge problem, The PR Partnership researched the impact of the pest on the Scottish tourist economy. These findings were presented to key figures in the Scottish tourism sector and provided a platform for media coverage.
Loch Lomond Shore visitor centre played host to the launch, where invitees received a copy of the book Midges in Scotland, with the slogan 'have you spotted what's holding Scottish tourism back?'.
Most of Scotland's daily newspapers, TV stations and west coast-based radio stations attended the event and were greeted by a man-sized midge mascot.
A Blair Witch-style film, Midge Bait, on a 70-foot high Imax cinema screen, was followed by a short presentation from a Calor spokesperson, who unveiled the Midgeater.
The launch generated more than 50 broadcast items including GMTV, ITV and BBC News, and print interest from all the major Scottish titles, plus many of the UK nationals.
The coverage resulted in more than 500 sales enquiries. Within the first three weeks of the device going on sale, the entire planned production for 2003 of the Midgeater was sold out.
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