Drug rape is apparently on the increase in the UK - particularly as a result of spiked drinks - with 998 cases reported last year, according to police statistics. London-based Bloomsbury Innovations created one of the first consumer tests for contaminated drinks in the form of a matchbox-sized kit. The Drink Detective detects the three main drug families used in drug rape cases: ketamine, GHB and benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol.
To create a launch event for the Drink Detective and use it as a way to raise awareness among the police, government and retailers. To encourage consumers to use the test. To move drug rape up the news agenda.
Strategy and Plan
Citigate Dewe Rogerson (CDR) convinced The Roofie Foundation - an organisation that provides support for drug rape victims - to delay the annual release of reported drug rape incidents to coincide with the product launch.The foundation backs the product and is to receive a donation from sales.
The 2003 figures provided a factual hook, giving the product launch more clout and helped to position it as part of the solution to the problem.
All types of media were targeted, especially women's magazines. Because 15 per cent of reported victims are men, the gay press was also a key focus.
Invites were sent out to all media the week before the launch event, which was held at The Law Society for added credibility.
Thirty journalists attended and CDR arranged 20 pre-recorded and live interviews for key broadcast and print news media with spokespeople from Bloomsbury Innovations and The Roofie Foundation. Press packs given out included the test itself, a press release, background information and statistics.
Measurement and Evaluation
In the 24 hours surrounding the launch, the product appeared on the main TV and radio news programmes, including BBC News, GMTV, ITV News, Five News, Sky News, BBC3, BBC Radio 1, Virgin Radio and Capital FM.
Articles also featured in most national newspapers, including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, and regional print media such as the Manchester Evening News. Women's magazines She, 19 and New Woman are due to run articles, as well as gay magazines G3 and Boyz.
Bloomsbury Innovations's website received nearly 2,000 hits on the day of the launch.
Although CDR has not used an external agency to evaluate results, most coverage was positive, although a few articles suggested that the concept of a test kit was scaremongering.
The cost of the product, £3.95, was also highlighted.
The Bloomsbury Innovations website has received 4,000 hits since the story of the product release broke and is now talking to retailers and distributors for the product in the UK, Europe and the US.
Five interviewed the company and ran a two-minute piece on the launch, although Richard Lawson, a forward planner at Five News, admits he was quite sceptical about it.
'We mentioned the cost of the product,' he says. 'However, we felt that the product placement wasn't such a strong part of the whole story, plus it was also interesting because it was the first of its kind. The issue itself was important, too, and worth covering.'
He adds: 'The PR company was very useful and helped set up interviews with the right people at the right time - that doesn't always happen.'