Capitalising on the interest and broad media attention surrounding the 2010 Australian Federal Election, Ancestry.com.au set the Howorth Digital Lifestyle team the challenge to find an opportunity to get the family history website into the 2010 election debate.
We immediately spotted a powerful media opportunity to unearth the findings of family history research into the two main 2010 Federal Election candidates. Our research revealed the news that, for the first time in over 87 years, Australia’s elected Prime Minister would not be Australian born, with both Gillard and Abbott both from the UK.
Working closely with the Ancestry.com.au team to pitch this unique insight to the media, we negotiated an exclusive opportunity with Channel Nine’s Today Show. This was followed by special briefings with print and radio, with many interviews conducted under embargo.
The campaign highlighted the real reward brands can reap by exploiting a topical news issue, and taking ownership of it by interjecting it with a related brand-owned insight. The story generated:
- Over 44 stories across national radio, television, print and online reaching more than 3.4 million Australians.
- Highlights included a five minute live-to-air TV interview on Australia’s highest rating morning show, the Today Show.
The team also secured a full page feature article in The Daily Telegraph and an 18 minute interview with 2GB Radio in Sydney.
Wills and Kate’s Royal Wedding saw many brands trying to jump on the magic in order to drive media traction. Our challenge was to create a differentiated voice for the Ancestry brand, and one that would cut through the clutter, delivering a tangible business return i.e. site traffic and subscriptions – not just be ‘publicity for publicity’s sake’.
We set about theming our story around the real number of Royal Weddings i.e. the number of Australians that had a direct correlation to royalty through their ancestry. Partnering with the Innovations Team at News.com.au, we challenged the nation to reveal the real royal ties in their family tree.
The team opened up the Ancestry.com.au marriage indexes on the site, which drove widespread reach and visibility, as well as delivering site trial and subscriptions. To kick-start the launch, we leveraged research and case studies to drive a story targeting weekend news cycles one week prior to Wedding Day.
The results showed what a solid media strategy can deliver when it meets a global cultural phenomenon with a differentiated brand storytelling twist. This one-off media drive generated:
- Over 71 pieces of branded coverage across all media channels – radio, print and television
- 15 radio interviews were generated with an Ancestry.com.au spokesperson
Keystone coverage was placed in leading Australian titles such as : Sunrise, Sunday Telegraph, News.com.au, Adelaide Now, 2GB, 2UE and ABC 702.
Hot on the heels of the PRIA NSW award for the Telstra Productivity Indicator campaign, Howorth won the coveted worldwide WPP Public Relations WPPed Cream Crème de la Crème award, for the same campaign. According to Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO WPP: “Every year WPP companies succeed in producing the exceptional with greater and greater consistency: and that, to me, is the real test of professional excellence. The one-off masterpiece is to be welcomed and rewarded – but permanently high standards deserve our highest praise.”
Marcia Silverman, the public relations jury chairman, said: “The competition has grown tremendously as we enter the fourth year of the WPPED Cream awards. The entries, which came in from all over the world, were of the highest calibre of work. This year we had an astounding 28 submissions for consideration from more than ten different agencies in the Public Relations/Public Affairs categories of: business-to-business, consumer marketing, and corporate & public affairs. After careful consideration, I’m happy to announce that the PR Crème de la Crème winner for 2010 has been awarded to Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide/Howorth out of Sydney, Australia. Their superior efforts for the Telstra Corporation allowed their client to have a marked increase in sales while outperforming competitors. We all agreed that their efforts to innovate their clients reputation and business-to-business offerings merited this highest of distinctions.”
Given the competition for these awards, this is an outstanding achievement for Howorth.
And the news just gets better.
Yesterday, the shortlisted finalists for the PR Week awards Asia Pacific were announced, and Howorth is shortlisted for four awards. In total, Ogilvy Public Relations Australia has been shortlisted for 12 awards in 11 categories. The winners will be announced on Monday 22 November in Hong Kong.
The campaigns shortlisted are:
Category: Technology Campaign of the Year
Campaign: Citizen Mayors of Sydney Unite
Client: Microsoft Australia
Category: Best Use of Digital
Campaign: Citizen Mayors of Sydney Unite
Client: Microsoft Australia
Category: Business-to-Business Campaign of the Year
Campaign: TP12 Powerful PR addresses the productivity gap
Category: Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year
Campaign: Australia – Who do you think you really are?
Finally, Howorth will discover on October 5 whether it has won an award at the 2010 Platinum PR Awards. The nomination is for Howorth’s Microsoft Australia Windows 7 Launch: “Windows 7 Was My Idea”, in the product category.
Do you have a convict ancestor? If you did, would you know? In our first project for Australia’s leading family history website, Ancestry.com.au, Howorth led a PR campaign to launch two new convict-based historical record collections to the public. These records (the Convict Registers of Conditional and Absolute Pardons, 1791-1846 and the New South Wales Certificates of Freedom, 1827-1867) complete the journey from arrest to release of almost one third of all convicts transported to Australia.
With more than 2.3 million criminal and convict records now available online, Ancestry.com.au made the entirety of its 15-part Australian Convicts Collection accessible for free for eight days in January 2010. With the door to the past wide open, we had to convince the public to come knocking.
Howorth constructed a public relations campaign, tied into Australia Day, to get consumers thinking about how their families originally made it to the Lucky Country, before encouraging them to dig down into their own pasts.
Creative idea, relentless execution
We knew we needed a high-profile partner for the campaign launch, so we secured a national News Limited exclusive for Australia Day itself, which resulted in coverage in all news.com.au sites across Australia. We also targeted metropolitan radio talk back programs with embargoed material so they could incorporate the story into the weekly plan. Following this initial coverage burst, the release was then issued to all other media.
The response locally for the convict collection was overwhelming, with more than 200 pieces of coverage, including breaking news online across Fairfax and news.com.au, and radio news bulletins. 20 radio interviews were conducted across commercial, AM and community radio, from the ABC to 2GB, with some stations syndicating the interviews across their networks and regions to raise coverage levels even further. Print coverage included major pieces in the Hobart Mercury, Canberra Times and Sunday Territorian. Through our social media engagement, we also generated 21 ‘Tweets’ on the open Convict Collection indexes, with some of the influential Twitter users having over 1000 followers.
As a result of the PR campaign, Ancestry.com.au received their highest ever unique visitors for a single day on Australia Day (25th January 2010).
Gratifyingly, the client was thrilled with the results; “The Howorth team achieved results well beyond our expectations. This is a great start to our relationship,” said Debra Chesterton, Managing Director, Ancestry.com.au.