CAMPAIGNS: When size really doesn’t matter - Hi-tech PR

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.

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.



Objectives



To achieve widespread media coverage and awareness of the Viewmate

PC-Camera and highlight its business and leisure benefits to PC

users.



Tactics



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

Computer World.



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

band Sleeper.



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

e-mail.



Results



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

page.



Verdict



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

about.



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

Budget: N/A



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