Campaign: Nethouseprices promotion
PR team: Brazil
Timescale: February-March 2005
Budget: Around £10,000
The Land Registry of England and Wales and Registers of Scotland put house value data online for the first time last December, creating the opportunity to see, for a fee, the pricing details of all houses bought and sold in the UK since 2000. Entrepreneur Steve Dunnett set up a free site, www.nethouseprices.com, in January to give buyers and sellers useful information, and hired Brazil to raise its profile.
To increase awareness of the site and position it as a credible and useful tool for professionals in the property industry and housebuyers.
Strategy and Plan
PR activity prior to Brazil's involvement hadn't resulted in much coverage, so the agency could not claim the site was new. Instead, press releases were based on factual information. They highlighted that Nethouseprices had received 50 million hits in the six weeks after its launch and quoted Friends Reunited co-founder Steve Pankhurst, who was impressed with the site's initial success.
Brazil also used a 'nosy neighbours' news hook, explaining that curtain twitchers could check the price paid for neighbouring houses. It targeted the features and consumer affairs sections of national and regional newspapers and gave exclusive information to trade magazines Estate Agent News and Negotiator.
A more light-hearted press release detailed the UK's most popular house names (Rose Cottage was number one) to attract coverage.
Measurement and Evaluation
Brazil says its campaign reached 40 million people, based on the audience reach of media used. The website won coverage in The Guardian, the Scottish Edition of The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Sun. The Press Association ran the story, as did property websites and the regional press, including the Yorkshire Post and Manchester Evening News.
The house name press release resulted in a three-minute live interview on Radio 5 with Dunnett and extended pieces in The Times, the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and The Guardian, as well as regional press.
The day after the first release went out, traffic on the Nethouseprices site increased by about 120 per cent. It now gets 15 million hits a month and is the largest site in its sector in terms of visits.
Sunday Times reporter Mark MacAskill was particularly interested that Dunnett was a Scottish entrepreneur. He says: 'The concept was interesting, along with the fact that he had so much interest in the first few weeks.
The PR company kept in touch.'