Augur Industries asked Harvard PR to launch its new Viewmate
PC-Camera, a James Bond-style miniature digital video camera, that
simply plugs into a PC. Retailing at pounds 99, the camera can be used
for video/telephone-conferencing, distance learning and as a security
camera. But its main attraction is enabling users to record video
messages with audio for the internet, intranets and e-mail.
To achieve widespread media coverage and awareness of the Viewmate
PC-Camera and highlight its business and leisure benefits to PC
At the beginning of October, Harvard decided to promote the video
camera’s key feature - its video e-mail (VMail) software, to the media.
Short teaser VMails, with text press releases attached, were sent to
over 50 journalists with PCs, from the national and business press,
broadcasting organisations and consumer titles such as FHM and Personal
The agency set up an exclusive preview of the camera with the Times
Interface supplement for 1 October, and scheduled product reviews for
later in the month with specialist computer titles, such as PC Format
and web site design magazine Webspace.
Harvard also organised a special feature on BBC Radio One’s weekly
technology slot Digital Update. On 22 October, the programme announced a
world internet first, involving the Viewmate and Louise Wener of indie
Wener became the first pop star to be sent through cyberspace, by
sending her own VMail messages to listeners, via the Radio One web site.
Forty per cent of the budget was allocated to planning and evaluation,
with the majority being spent on planning exercises - finding out which
journalists had PCs and were happy to receive press information by
The VMail teasers led to media interest ranging from BBC Radio
Nottingham and GLR to Video Camera magazine and office equipment title,
Mind Your Own Business. The producers at Sky News requested a personal
demonstration of the camera and as a result ran a Viewmate PC-Camera
special on 7 October.
This in turn led to an approach by the Daily Star, to use the product to
enhance its recently launched MegaStar web site. A week later, on 14
October, the site featured an exclusive cyber-chat afternoon with
readers’ favourite page three models, including Joanne Guest. Those
logging on to the site, were able to see live pictures of the (fully
clad) celebrities taking part, and link directly into Augur’s own
internet homepage. The Daily Star covered the event on its front
The launch of Viewmate has achieved an impressive number of positive
product reviews, helped by its involvement with a raft of up to the
minute celebrities. Morgan Zuill, Augur Industries sales director, is
pleased with the media exposure the camera has gained, particularly
outside the hi-tech market.
Certainly, working with the Daily Star and BBC Radio 1 has generated
positive publicity and clearly demonstrated what the product is all
This is ongoing - last month both Virgin Radio boss, Chris Evans and BBC
Radio 1 presenter, Zoe Ball took part in live video link-ups with the
MegaStar site, on air.
Client: Augur Industries
Campaign: Launch of Viewmate PC-Camera
PR Team: Harvard PR
Timescale: October 1997 - February 1998