Holmes Report 17 Aug 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
How to make a summer sale visible in the media with PR tools? That is a challenge in Finland, where the media is vary of marketing messages. AC-Sanafor found a fun way to create an event and secure daily radio coverage for the Hotels.com summer sale in 2010.
AC-Sanafor has done PR for Hotels.com in Finland since April 2008. With quirky angles for press releases and constant contact with the media, we have secured excellent visibility for Hotels.com with a monthly average of 58 clippings in 2010. However, when it comes to getting through the message about sales, it has been a challenge in Finland.
In 2010 we decided to create an event around the Hotels.com summer sale in the last week of June. During the week we hid 100 plastic bottles in the sand of the most popular beach in Helsinki (Hietaniemi = “sand beach”). This meant that there were 20 bottles to be found in the sand on each weekday. Everyday one bottle included a 100€ voucher for Hotels.com. In addition to this, one bottle contained a grand prize of 3 nights in a 4-star hotel in the Helsinki city centre. In every bottle there was a flyer with information about the Hotels.com summer sale.
The key to the success of the campaign was a radio cooperation. To make sure people heard about the campaign and knew when to come to the beach, we secured a cooperation with MetroFM, the leading local radio station in the Helsinki area.
The hosts of the morning show on MetroFM talked about the campaign every weekday during the week between 6 and 10 AM. They encouraged people to go to the beach and elaborated on what was to be found in the bottles. In the afternoon show from 2 to 6 PM the host reminded people of the campaign and interviewed the days’ winner. The people who found the winning flyers had to call the radiostation in order to redeem their voucher. In the interview they were asked how and where they found the bottle and where they were planning on travelling and booking a hotel. All the bottles with winning flyers were found and redeemed.
The cooperation with MetroFM secured the campaign a total of 43 minutes of airtime during the week. That means 8,5 minutes of airtime per day and 74 individual clips. The airtime varied between short mentions and winner interviews of up to 2 minutes. The campaign was also promoted online at www.metrofm.fi.
In addition to the radio cooperation we also distributed a press release about the campaign and got online and print coverage during the week and also one mention on another radio station.
Like in many PR campaigns, the timing had a lot to do with the success. The majority of Finns start their summer holiday after Midsummer and the Hotels.com summer sale began on the previous week. Luck was also a factor: the last week of June saw the beginning of a heatwave breaking all weather records in Finland, so the beach was full of people. Had it been raining, even great ideas and good PR might not have been enough.
PS. We were environmentally friendly and made sure no bottles were placed too close to the sea or left on the beach.