Campaign: The New World of Wilfing
PR team: 3 Monkeys Communications
Timescale: April 2007
After a pitch the online shopping site hired 3 Monkeys Communications, which developed the idea to create a campaign using a new word for aimless internet surfing, ‘wilfing’.
To gain coverage in the lifestyle media and position moneysupermarket.com as an expert on personal finance and online searching issues. To drive traffic to moneysupermarket.com.
STRATEGY & PLAN
‘Wilfing’, an acronym of ‘what was I looking for’, was designed to show how much aimless surfing takes place among internet users and how their time can be better directed using sites such as moneysupermarket.com. To give this concept credibility, research into UK internet use was carried out by YouGov.
The pollster’s survey of 2,400 internet users found that 69 per cent admitted to aimlessly searching, particularly when it came to shopping sites. Also, one in four said they spend up to a third of their online time engaging in wilfing. TV lifestyle coach Pete Cohen, who appears regularly on GMTV, was used as a spokesman to hammer home the message of the importance of more targeted internet use.
Both the market research results and Cohen’s endorsements were presented to the national and local media as well as global press associations via a press release timed to launch on 10 April – just after the Easter weekend and a time when the agency believed work malaise would be most rife.
MEASUREMENT & EVALUATION
The story gained 160 pieces of coverage, including 20 national newspapers, four national TV stations, BBC News 24, BBC Breakfast, GMTV and ITV’s Morning News.
National newspaper coverage included an article in The Times dated 10 April, headlined: ‘Are you surfing your life away on random searches?’
The story also featured on three national radio stations, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Sky News Radio, as well as 22 regional newspapers and 15 regional radio stations. In addition, it was covered in 26 foreign newspapers such as USA Today, six international newswires including Reuters, and 60 online news sites such as Guardian Unlimited.
Evaluation carried out by 3 Monkeys also found that 70 per cent of coverage name-checked moneysupermarket.com.
During the week following the campaign launch, moneysupermarket.com saw the number of hits to the site rise by 270,000. This exceeded expectations as it coincided with a period of uncharacteristic good weather when internet use can often take a dip.
Since April, wilfing has now become a widely accepted term, appearing in Wikipedia, mentioned by AA Gill in one of his Sunday Times restaurant reviews and it was used as a question asked on BBC TV quiz show University Challenge.
3 Monkeys has also highlighted more than 500 blogs that reference the term, many of which include a hyperlink to moneysupermarket.com.
Kirsty Leighton (l), European V-P of technology, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide: Doing PR for consumer finance-related products requires a very creative approach to differentiate client products.
Moneysupermarket.com is in a highly competitive space competing for mindshare with financial services brands and other comparison shopping brands.
With these factors in mind ‘The New World of Wilfing’ campaign was a simple but well-executed campaign.
The coverage achieved was impressive with a mix of national broadcast, online and print media maximising the opportunities for a mainstream audience to see the story. The fact that ‘wilfing’ had been submitted to Wikipedia the same day (presumably not by 3 Monkeys) demonstrated that the campaign had not only garnered media attention but captured consumers’ imagination.
It is precisely the kind of campaign idea which, with a bit of creativity, can be exploited beyond one media push to sustain the linkage between ‘wilfing’ and moneysupermarket.com. Especially since the phrase looks as if it could pass into common parlance.
It would also have been interesting to see how the campaign had an impact on web traffic to moneysupermarket.com. While I would not expect everyone to suddenly look for financial products, I would expect to see some inbound web traffic increase by those curious about the phenomena of ‘wilfing’ or wanting to bookmark the site for future reference.