Paul Holmes 06 May 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
Millstone Personal Blends, a Procter & Gamble brand, approached PepperCom with a short-term project looking to achieve big media results in a small amount of time. With the introduction of its Web site (www.personalblends.com), where consumers could create individual coffee blends matched to their taste palette, Millstone’s goal was to increase traffic to the site and sales during the holidays. The company had a very small internal Public Relations department and few resources to dedicate to this venture. As a result, they were not well equipped to successfully execute the project within the tight timeframe. PepperCom was called upon to drive the consumer media outreach and begin building the Millstone brand online and off.
Our objectives were to build brand awareness, present consumers with an innovative, personal holiday-gift idea, and to reach Millstone’s targeted audience through top-tier national, consumer media in both broadcast and print outlets. Success would be judged on two criteria: the amount of hits to the Personal Blends site and increased sales of P&G’s personalized gourmet coffee product during the holiday season.
To help Millstone Personal Blends reach a mass consumer audience within four weeks and in time to make an impact during the holiday season, PepperCom worked with the company to establish the key messages that would be relayed through all media relations efforts. Those key messages were:
- The Millstone Personal Blends Tasteprint is the utmost in consumer personalization;
- Personal Blends is the perfect last-minute gift;
- The product is available via the Web just in time for the holidays.
Within two days, PepperCom leveraged these key messages to create the Got Java? campaign. The program had two separate components: a series of initiatives to attract immediate media attention and a laser focus on both print & broadcast media in the top 25 markets and on a national level. In addition to securing placements, our strategy was to develop a long-term relationship between journalists and the brand by encouraging the media to develop their own individual Personal Blends.
Based on the success of our campaign, PepperCom was asked to continue our efforts throughout the month of January. At that point, we developed an additional media relations strategy focusing on Millstone Personal Blends for general gift giving and on the burgeoning trend of consumer product personalization via the Internet.
Four days prior to launching our media relations efforts, PepperCom presented a Public Relations plan to P&G i-Ventures/Millstone Personal Blends for review.
PepperCom recommended a host of creative ideas (i.e. strategic targeting of media; commuter survey, Rockefeller Center event, and an Audio News Release). From those, Millstone selected an aggressive media outreach and development and distribution of an Audio News Release. We quickly developed a script for the Audio News Release as well as a media script for brand spokespeople to utilize during interviews. As part of PepperCom’s post-holiday efforts, we also developed a number of creative pitch ideas and leveraged Millstone’s extensive internal research to create a “Fun Coffee Facts” backgrounder.
Simultaneously, we contacted key publications leading up to the holidays and positioned Personal Blends as the ultimate last minute, completely personalized gift.
To secure national/top 25-market coverage that would increase traffic, drive sales and communicate key messages of a brand new product/Web site. Compounding the challenge was the extremely tight timeframe: we literally launched our programs three weeks before Christmas.
The Got Java? campaign has resulted in 30 major news stories in only eight weeks—reaching nearly 25 million consumers nationwide, not including additional wire service coverage or syndicated television and radio segments. The most significant hits included Bloomberg Radio’s Bootcamp, Reuters, New York Daily News, San Jose Mercury News and segments on Good Morning Cincinnati and the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, KYW-TV.
This media relations effort has helped to attract thousands of visitors to the site. Additionally, Millstone Personal Blends found that most user sessions on the site occurred from December 7 through December 18, 2000. Among the 30 media placements secured by PepperCom, over half appeared during that time (December 7-18, 2000), showing a direct correlation between our media relations efforts before the holidays and the traffic to and success of the Personal Blends site.
Additionally, based in part on PepperCom’s strategic targeting of the nation’s top 25 markets, over 75% of coverage appeared in the top 10 markets and nationally. Also, seven of the top ten most active cities visiting the Personal Blends site fall within the top ten media markets in the nation. Again, this shows a correlation between our regional focus and the site’s regional success.
Based on our success with this campaign, PepperCom is continuing follow-up with Millstone Personal Blends and is moving forward with P&G i-Ventures on additional short-term projects.