CAMPAIGNS: An inspirational partnership in PR - Cause-Related Marketing

Parker Pens launched a limited edition Snake fountain pen in March this year and the company invited several PR consultancies to devise a novel way of promoting it. Charles Barker won the pitch with its suggestion to link up with Unicef to raise funds for its literacy progamme.

Parker Pens launched a limited edition Snake fountain pen in March

this year and the company invited several PR consultancies to devise a

novel way of promoting it. Charles Barker won the pitch with its

suggestion to link up with Unicef to raise funds for its literacy

progamme.



Celebrities were invited to write Words of Inspiration in a bound book

using the pens. The book and the pens will be auctioned in January next

year.



Objectives



To raise money for Unicef, and have the Parker name associated with

promoting literacy. The pens themselves are a limited edition and

pre-ordered, so promoting sales of them was not part of the brief. To

benefit Unicef through the association with a global blue-chip company,

and to keep the charity in the public’s mind through the resulting press

coverage.



Tactics



To turn the concept into reality, Charles Barker needed to tie in

various partners. Courier company Sprint agreed to carry the book and

pens around the world. Lord Attenborough, a Unicef ambassador, was

enlisted to front the campaign and persuade people to take part.



Charles Barker acted as Central Office, liaising with local Parker press

offices in countries around the world. There were five books in

circulation which will later be bound into one, so that celebrities all

around the world could write concurrently.



Central Office worked with Parker around the world to arrange local

signings.



Celebrities were asked if they preferred to write in private, or

preferably at a staged press event to heighten awareness. They were

encouraged to get in touch with their local Parker office if they wanted

to become more involved. They also signed pen validity certificates, so

the pens used could be auctioned. The pounds 8,000 Gold Snake pens were

only used for the public signings.



In January an auction will be held at Sotheby’s Auction House in New

York to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Unicef US. Parker has

underwritten the auction for pounds 250,000 and hopes to raise more.



Results



Over 110 signatories have been collected, including Tony Blair, Nelson

Mandela, Patsy Kensit and Sophie Dahl, with more promised. The principal

objective of the campaign - to raise money for Unicef - is impossible to

gauge until after the auction. Press coverage has been limited in this

country, but elsewhere, in South Africa for example, it received

national television coverage.



Verdict



An original campaign where both Unicef and Parker benefit through mutual

association. The fact that both are concerned with the promotion of the

written word lends credibility.



’It’s too early to evaluate the success in terms of raising funds, but

it has certainly helped raise awareness to be associated with a global

company like Parker,’ said Unicef’s head of fundraising Fiona

Hesselden.



The logistics of getting the books around the world has been well

organised.



Client: Parker Pens/Unicef

PR Team: Charles Barker

Campaign: Words of Inspiration

Timescale: January 1997 to January 1998

Cost: pounds 225,000 including pounds 108,000 fee



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