The Top 10 Bachelors of Silicon Valley
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Holmes Report
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The Top 10 Bachelors of Silicon Valley

San Jose was ranked as “the No. 1 place in the nation to cast bait.” Based in the heart of the Valley, it just made sense for Women.com, a leading online destination for women, to provide the “Silicon scoop” for single women of America.

Paul Holmes

In a nation captivated by the Internet revolution taking place in Silicon Valley, and the young millionaires working from the companies based there, Ruder Finn set out to re-launch the Sex and Romance Channel in concert with the hype surrounding the dot-com boom and the romance of Valentine’s Day. To bolster our plan, the team researched thought-provoking statistics about men in Silicon Valley -- “Never-married men outnumber never-married women in every zip code in Silicon Valley. The guy supply is thickest in Stanford 94305, with a scant 73 women per 100 men, and in Milpitas 95035, with 88 women for every 100 men.”[1] In fact, San Jose was ranked as “the No. 1 place in the nation to cast bait.”[2] Based in the heart of the Valley, it just made sense for Women.com, a leading online destination for women, to provide the “Silicon scoop” for single women of America. Women.com would identify the Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley and catapult them into dot-com stardom - and at the same time, capture women’s hearts and attract attention to the Sex & Romance Channel.

PLANNING 

Ruder Finn collaborated with Women.com to create a comprehensive program and media strategy. The team researched numerous candidates and determined a list of the Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley - a diverse mix of entrepreneurs, marketers, dealmakers and engineers. The next step was to find out the inside story on these men’s lives, including: what cars they drove, what they read, what sports they watched, what lurked in their refrigerators and the most important thing on women’s minds…whether they were boyfriend material. To fully reveal the bachelors, the team brainstormed compelling interview questions and went straight to the most definitive source – their moms! – for the juicy details. Maximizing on past success with interactive tools and quizzes, an online poll was deemed an ideal way to enable visitors to engage in the selection process. Photographs and intimate particulars on these men were shared online for all to read and evaluate. The women themselves would vote for their favorite bachelor, thereby deciding the winner, which then would be announced via press release on Valentine’s Day.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIC APPROACH

Eligible, attractive, successful men! With both a dot-com and an eligible bachelor hook, this had the makings of not only a local feature but also a story worthy of national attention. Women.com’s “Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley” was a feature with all the right ingredients to entrance millions of women. With savvy media strategy, this program had the potential to accomplish the three main objectives in the relaunch of Women.com’s Sex & Romance Channel: 

  • Create buzz about the Women.com brand 
  • Expand depth of content for the Sex & Romance Channel
  • Drive traffic to the Sex & Romance Channel

Timing was key to the success of our PR program; we needed to connect the Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley with the romance surrounding Valentine’s Day. We developed a PR strategy that would leverage the nation’s obsession with this lover’s holiday and that would bring the Top Ten Silicon Valley Bachelors to life across the nation: It would begin locally, build up steam and then fan out nationwide.

EXECUTION

Once the bachelor search was finalized and the final list was posted on the Sex & Romance Channel, we strategically distributed a press release two weeks before Valentine's Day. In anticipation of broadcast coverage, b-roll of the bachelors was prepared - ready for distribution on the day the Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley were announced. After the poll results were tallied and the winning bachelor was determined, a media advisory went out on Valentine's Day announcing the winner. To make sure everyone was aware this would be a continuing event, the advisory also announced Women.com’s future plans to select the Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Alley of 2001 on Valentine's Day the next year.

The first program’s priority was targeting local media to build awareness and buzz, with a heavy emphasis on broadcast outlets, to reach the widest audience possible. The story received immediate interest from broadcast targets, including the local ABC, FOX and CBS affiliates, as well as local independent stations. Statewide coverage included broadcast outlets in Los Angeles and San Diego. From the success with broadcast, the story was positioned to pitch to both local print and radio venues. As anticipated from our broadcast success, we secured coverage in the two leading local publications, The San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News, and local radio outlets, including the popular “Alice Radio” on 93.7 KLLC. Local contacts were kept apprised of updates to the story, and were all contacted with the Valentine’s Day media alert.

With the local success behind us, it was time to launch into national outreach. A priority was securing interest from the Associated Press, knowing this syndicate had incredible reach around the world. The AP-wire story was picked up nationally in newspapers in over 22 states; it also received international coverage in papers including the Irish Times and the Times of India. The story also was pitched and received coverage in top U.S. newspapers, including the New York Post, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Additionally, a one-page layout of all ten bachelors, complete with their stories, was featured in Fortune magazine. 

While the story was hot, the top-tier media targets for pitching were identified. Airing within one month of each other were two national broadcast segments—a spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show as part of an online shopping segment, complete with Women.com’s bachelor b-roll, and a feature on The Today Show with Katie Couric, in which seven of the bachelors participated live from the New York studio. 

The Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley took on a life of its own and continued to surface nationally in both print and broadcast outlets, including MSNBC and Fox News Live, six months after the initial pitching began. One bachelor, Nirav Tolia, gained additional attention by appearing in Elle magazine and later in the July issue of People magazine as one of its “Top 100 Bachelors.” 

RESULTS AND EVALUATION

News of the Top Ten Silicon Valley Bachelors generated widespread media coverage—local, national and even international, generating significant buzz about the Women.com brand and carrying the story over a span of four months (with some stories appearing six months after the initial pitching). There was immediate success in driving heavy traffic to the Women.com website. The bottom line: With only two formal announcements, all objectives and expectations were achieved and overwhelmingly surpassed. 

  • Nearly 80 million impressions.
  • 97 print and online articles, including Fortune, Associated Press, The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle.
  • 38 broadcast hits in major markets including ABC, FOX and NBC, as well as The Oprah Show and The Today Show.
  • Regional radio broadcast coverage including 97.3 KLLC (San Francisco) and 99.7 KFRC (San Francisco).
  • Approximately 25,000 visitors participated in the Top Ten Bachelors of Silicon Valley poll, with page views for the Sex & Romance Channel increasing by over 2.5 million from 6,546,089 in December 1999 to 9,134,362 in January 2000. 
  • After The Oprah Show appearance May 9, page views for the Sex & Romance Channel jumped from a weekly average of 2,238 from the previous week, to 185,374 page views on the day the show aired.
  • After the Top Ten Silicon Valley Bachelors story aired on The Today Show May 24, page views jumped from a weekly average of 11,856 from the previous week, to 192,741 the day the show aired.


[1] San Jose Mercury News

[2] Mademoiselle

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