Campaign: Midnight lifts sales for Korean phone maker - Consumer PR

Campaign: VK Phones - The Glam Clam(shell) Mobile

Client: Unique Distribution

PR team: Midnight Communications

Timescale: July 2004-ongoing

Budget: £5,000

UK-based mobile phone distributor Unique Distribution introduced Korean company VK Corporation to the British market last May. With no advertising or direct marketing activity, owing to budget constraints, Unique brought Midnight Communications on board to handle a PR campaign to support the launch of the VK 207i and the VK 530. Objectives

To raise the profile of the VK handsets in the consumer press, regional and national newspapers. To secure targeted giveaways. To manage a product review programme.

Strategy and Plan

Introducing an unknown brand to an already crowded mobile phone market meant Midnight had to ensure its campaign demonstrated the unique features of the VK phones.

Positioning the phones as 'must-have' style accessories, the PR team initially contacted long-lead-time women's publications, highlighting features such as the feminine colours of the phone, its compact mirror, bio-rhythm function and 40 polyphonic ringtones. Midnight advised the client to particularly focus on the female teen market as the phone would naturally appeal to them.

The campaign also ensured that seasonal events such as Christmas and Valentine's Day were included in the activity plan. To set up a product review system, journalists were allowed to borrow VK handsets for editorial purposes.

Midnight then negotiated a ten-week reader giveaway in Now, during which VK phones received regular exposure in the magazine's letters page.

Websites geared towards the teenage girls market - GizmoGirl, Woman-UK, More online and Cosmogirl! online - were targeted to direct potential customers to the Vodafone website, where they could purchase the handsets.

Measurement and Evaluation

Prior to the campaign, VK had received no exposure in the UK consumer press but, following it, 14 pieces of targeted editorial coverage appeared in national and consumer publications, with 35,968,000 opportunities to see, according to in-house evaluation.

Coverage included the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Top Sante, Bliss, Sugar and Sneak. Ten competitions were secured in teen magazines, including Mizz, More, B and Cosmogirl!.

Results

Around 200,000 mobile handsets have been sold through Woolworths, Tesco and Littlewoods since launch.

On the day of launch, the pink VK 207i was the best-selling pre-pay handset in retail outlets across the UK, according to figures submitted by retailers. The pink and lilac VK 530 sold out in half of all retail stores by the second day after the launch.

Despite having no previous brand in the UK, VK handsets are the number three post-pay mobile in Vodafone retail stores; they are number one for pre-pay deals. 'The people at Midnight were very helpful with pictures and information. In fact, everything arrived so swiftly I was able to get the story straight up on (weblog) Shiny Shiny, which was great for our hits,' says Shiny Shiny editor Katie Lee.

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