Campaign: LG sprinkles celeb glitter on Choc phone

In April, LG appointed Hill & Knowlton and sister agency Blanc & Otus to launch the LG Chocolate Mobile Phone in the UK.

Campaign Launch of the LG Mobile Chocolate Phone
Client LG Mobile
PR team Hill & Knowlton and Blanc & Otus
Timescale April-June 2006
Budget Less than £500,000

An LG Chocolate is not brown and it is not edible - it is the first model in the Korean-based electronics company's Black Label series of mobile phones. The model is central to the firm's ambitious growth plans - before Chocolate's launch, research revealed that more than half of the target audience had never heard of the LG brand.

To position Chocolate as a credible, fashionable, design-led phone, and build greater brand awareness.

Strategy and Plan
Chocolate had already won two design awards  - including the prestigious Red Dot award - before its launch. The PR team used this to position the brand as having style (previously won by Apple's iPod) - making it a ‘must-have' phone for image-conscious 18 to 34-year-olds.

The agencies gave phones to celebrities including Jude Law, Jade Jagger and Naomi Campbell, who provided quotes about their impressions of the product for endorsement in print ads. Coleen McLoughlin, fiancée of England footballer Wayne Rooney, was then recruited as the ‘face' of the LG Chocolate - a move that coincided with the build-up to the World Cup in Germany.

Advertorials featuring Coleen were placed in ten lifestyle publications to coincide with the product's launch. There were two launch events: a day-time gathering for technology media; and a party at London venue Sketch - formerly Christian Dior's headquarters - for national press, TV and radio. Entertainment at the party was provided by pop group Goldfrapp and DJ Norman Jay.

In addition, the agencies targeted 20 influential design-focused bloggers to review the phone. Post-launch, the PR team focused on placing reviews and broader features in various publications.

Measurement and Evaluation
The launch party earned two pages in Grazia and single full pages in London's Evening Standard, ES Magazine, Now and Star. Coleen - and the Chocolate phone - appeared in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and The Observer.

The phone also gained coverage in GQ and was favourably reviewed in gadget titles Stuff, T3 and What Mobile. Broadcast interest came from BBC2, CNBC, CNN, VH1, Heart FM and Capital FM.  To date, more than 300 blogs - all independent according to the PR agencies - have mentioned LG's Chocolate model.

Chocolate was LG's most successful phone launch in the UK. Sales were 100 per cent higher than for previous models, and the phone sold out within three days.

It has also been named ‘fashion phone of the year' by What Mobile and Mobile Choice magazines.

According to research carried out by the company, brand awareness of LG among the target audience has
increased by 20 per cent.

Freelance journalist David Phelan wrote about Chocolate's launch for Time Out and The Independent. He
says: ‘The phone is cute and made a good story. With its touch-sensitive screen, it's different from anything
else on the market.'

The mobile phone market is crowded and competitive - there are a lot of new designs and feature-led products. There is also competition from VoIP phones. LG needed to produce a highly effective campaign in order to secure a foothold in the market, and I think its PR agencies achieved this.

Not only did the LG Chocolate campaign generate large amounts of coverage, it also built brand awareness and drove sales.

Working specifically in the technology PR business myself, I appreciate the costs involved in recruiting celebrities to endorse products - and the extent to which an agency is required to demonstrate impressive ROI on such investments. Using Coleen McLoughlin as the media focused their attention on the World Cup in Germany was intelligent, and the celebrity party guaranteed coverage in the gossip mags.

It would be interesting though to find out how the campaign affected sales of other LG products, traffic to its website and interest from retailers. The marketing strategy included a heavyweight ad campaign that must have played a part in increas­ing brand awareness and sales, which shows the power of a fully integrated marketing campaign.

I'm sure a major element of the PR campaign must have been educating people that this wasn't an edible product. I'd like to know how the team prepared for this.

Hannah Shepherd, MD of Trilogy Communications, previously worked on the LG account

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