Web Campaign: Web Campaign Gets Server Out in Front

Winner: The Hoffman Agency Site: HPServerNews.com Budget: $6,500 When Hewlett-Packard asked The Hoffman Agency to handle PR for a new type of computer server, it was clear that a detailed Web site would have to be an integral part of the campaign. The team was targeting technology-trade media and mainstream publications, but the Web site would also bypass the media and deliver information directly to IT professionals making purchasing decisions. The product, a "super-slim blade server," had all that right features: Small, fast, powerful and cheap (as servers go). But it was also something new, even in the world of technology. The Hoffman team knew it would need to present not just a flashy image, but a detailed educational campaign, complete with exhaustive technical information. Enter the HPServerNews.com site. "We designed it as a quick resource for the media, with everything from videos to fact sheets to technical documents, executive bios and print- quality photos," explains Shane Larrabee, head of online communications at The Hoffman Agency. But the media were not the only ones who dropped by. The site drew the immediate attention of potential users eager to get an early peek at the product. The new site mimicked the look and feel of the main HP Web site, and was linked to the "Servers" section on the main site. But by creating a unique site for the server, the PR team removed all the barriers to accessing information: Impatient surfers no longer had to dig down into the HP site to find out more. The Hoffman PR team wrote the majority of the content, with some material from HP. The site went live Dec. 4, 2001, and ran for the four-week duration of the campaign. To boost the profile of the site, the team incorporated the URL into all press and analyst outreach activities. To reach potential users directly, the PR team also distributed the press release by wire service, pushing the URL to online news portals that subscribe. The servers are expensive investments, so sales typically take a while, meaning accurate data on sales impact is still not available. But the site drew more than 28,000 unique visitors and more than 34,000 total visits during the four-week campaign and resulted in more than 33,000 content downloads and 72,000 downloads of multimedia items. (Contact: Shane Larrabee, 617/764-2095, slarrabee@hoffman.com)

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