Foot healthcare company Scholl developed Party Feet Gel Cushions to make wearing high-heeled shoes less painful, for launch in autumn 2003.
GCI Healthcare was tasked with introducing the product to the UK media.
To launch Scholl Party Feet to the media and women aged 16 and over; to generate awareness of, and interest in, the product; to rapidly establish sales.
Strategy and Plan
The media targets to reach the audience of women aged 16 and over were broad, including nationals and supplements, women's consumer press, and broadcast and online media. The aim was to get them to trial, feature and recommend the product.
Rather than put on one high-cost launch event for all media, GCI Healthcare organised a series of press visits to key contacts, with content tailored to the sector. Visits with consumer monthlies were scheduled for August, the week before their editorial planning meetings for December/January issues.
Celebrity-based magazines were included in the August press visits to secure coverage for the launch of the product in September, and to link it with high-heel-wearing celebrities.
Reader offers and party-themed advertorials were booked for December issues of target titles, and the agency produced a press pack with suggested feature ideas and press releases. GCI Healthcare issued samples to publications on the day of their in-house Christmas parties.
Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign was evaluated using GCI Healthcare's in-house system.
The press visits resulted in positive coverage in target titles that had a total readership of 40 million. These included The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Mail, The Sun, Company, OK!, In Style and Heat, as well as ITV1's This Morning. Nearly three-quarters of the coverage was in women's publications, showing the campaign was reaching its target.
Sales went from 384 pairs in the week of 30 September to 17,238 in the week of 29 November. Sales in one leading pharmaceutical retailer have now gone past 22,000 a week and continue to grow.
Celebrity bible Heat was so impressed it featured the product twice.
Deputy style editor Rachel Eling said: 'We've done stories before on celebs having collagen implants in their feet so they can wear their Manolos, which is a bit extreme; this seemed like a perfect alternative, so we featured them. A couple of weeks later the agency sent us a load of samples on the day of the Emap awards, and we were amazed at how well they worked.'