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HEXBUG: what stand out media relations means

As regular readers of the Smoking Gun blog and newsletter will know, 2014 began with celebrations, as one of our campaigns has been shortlisted in a hotly contested category of the Golden Hedgehog Awards. Here’s how we did it.
With the U.K. toy market currently worth £3billion annually, our client, Innovation First, the company behind educational micro-robotics toy, HEXBUG, wanted to build its share of the British media voice, boost revenue and raise the profile of three new product lines.
Increase public awareness of the new launches, including the key features of each line, along with the overall HEXBUG brand.
Incentivise purchases by exciting children, thus stimulating their ability to apply ‘pester power’, and appealing to parents through the educational benefits of Innovation First stock.
Improve digital engagement levels with the brand by using media coverage and content marketing through social media to boost web traffic, with a view to converting those visitors into sales.
Strategy and plan
With a huge proportion of toy sales focused on the ‘hard nine’ weeks before Christmas it was clear securing space in gift guides would need to be a priority, albeit given the hyper-competition during the festive season that sector would need support from the wider media. In order to do that, journalists and editors would need to see Innovation First’s impressive toys in action.
Launching a ‘seeing is believing’ campaign built on the impressive attributes of established HEXBUG and the three new product lines, Smoking Gun PR collated, compiled and distributed an array of video and image-based content showing kids and big kids alike playing with a Hexbug. Three main demographics were identified as target markets; parents and grandparents, tech and gadget lovers, and children between the ages of three and nine.
Further to this, key marketing pushes tied in with significant holidays and annual events- how to occupy kids during October half term, essential Halloween party items, ideal stocking-filler ideas. This was all in addition to seeking opportunities for reviews across the gamut of relevant media outlets, prop placement within lifestyle TV shows and product drops by celebrities with children in the target age group.
By the time the HEXBUG campaign had completed we had secured 100% branded coverage with at least one key message. These included national print titles such as The Sun, The Guardian and The Times, along with TV exposure on Channel 5’s The Great Christmas Toy Show, ITV’s This Morning and The Only Way Is Essex, leading to 40% more hits than our KPIs required.
Elsewhere, organic search results for Hexbugs were up 3,884% on the previous period, with year on year web traffic increased by 18.5%. As a final measurement, during those all-important pre-Christmas weeks, sales were boosted by 22% compared to the silly season in 2012 and web purchases rose by 365%, with the results meaning one in seven UK households now owns a Hexbug.

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