Campaign: Rocola sells innovative shirt into press and TV - Consumer

Campaign: Launch of Rocola Shirt Tec

Client: Morrison McConnell

PR team: Grappa PR

Timescale: June-October 2004

Budget: £20,000

Fashion brand owner Morrison McConnell has invested in a new molecular fabric technology which, when applied to shirts during manufacturing, makes them resistant to water-based stains and removing the need for ironing. The technology was applied to a new collection of Rocola shirts, using the brand Rocola Shirt Tec.


To inform retailers that stocked Rocola brands about the Shirt Tec to encourage listings or increase existing ranges. To use the Shirt Tec technology to raise awareness of the Rocola brand among consumers. To drive sales.

Strategy and Plan

Grappa put together a press kit for the trade media, such as Drapers' Record and Menswear Buyer, which included one of the shirts plus sachets of tea, coffee and red wine, inviting recipients to 'Drink Me, Spill Me'.

The kits were also sent out to retailers. Six weeks after the trade launch, the PR team targeted broadcast and print outlets it felt would influence the broader majority of media once the brand's stain-repellent claims were proven.

With a target audience of mainly older male customers, the Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, Richard & Judy, This Morning and Radio 5 Live were sent the press kit, under the banner 'Long Live the Resistance'.

Regional titles, such as the Leicester Mercury and Derby Evening Telegraph were then approached as they covered areas where Rocola was sold by retailers. Media relations was also used to target men's fashion, hobby, sporting, bridal, business and gadget publications, pitching the shirt to appeal to niche markets.

A series of sampling events in shopping malls around the UK and Ireland were then set up, where sampling teams were kitted out in lab coats at which consumers were invited to fire water pistols loaded with red wine, tea or beer.

Measurement and Evaluation

According to Romeike and in-house evaluation, on the day of the broadcast and print launch the Evening Standard ran a full-page piece and Rocola design director Simon Foster was interviewed on Radio 5 Live.

Richard & Judy featured a four-minute slot and over the following weekend the Daily Mail covered the story.

Thirty-two regional titles ran the story, including The Kent Messenger, Belfast Telegraph, Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo. To date, 110 minutes of radio coverage have been broadcast, with further live demonstrations on an Irish daytime news show on channel TV3.

Trade titles Drapers' Record and Menswear Buyer also took the bait.


Five months after the launch, Shirt Tec now accounts for 35 per cent of total Rocola business. Sales of Shirt Tec accounted for two thirds of its formal-shirt sales for autumn/winter 2004 and 50 per cent of Rocola's forward sales for spring 2005 are for Shirt Tec.

'I decided to use the Rocola stain-repellent story on This Morning after I received the press pack,' This Morning fashion presenter John Scott tells PRWeek.

'We rarely feature anything about men's fashion on the show, but we decided to run it as we'd never seen anything like it before,' he adds.

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