Best practice from Weber Shandwick, Manchester
Background and Challenge
As part of Aldi’s ambitious growth plans, Weber Shandwick was challenged with supporting the launch of Aldi Travel.
Taking Aldi into a new and extremely competitive market was a huge challenge for a discounter brand, especially in the urrent climate with consumer confidence low and following the recent demise of travel companies like eXcel and Zoom Airways.
Weber Shandwick created a strategy with the following aims: generate pre-launch noise and awareness in the trade media, create a buzz at launch, establish Aldi Travel as a trusted and credible operator and communicate Aldi’s core values of quality, value and efficiency.
Strategy and Implementation
Weber Shandwick took a three-pronged approach to the Aldi Travel launch campaign: the initial focus was on engaging the trade and demonstrating to the industry Aldi was serious about its extension into the travel arena.
Weber Shandwick used its travel PR experience to launch a full-scale assault at World Travel Market (WTM) in November.
WTM is a global event for the travel industry and draws in travel professionals from across the world – this was the perfect opportunity for Aldi Travel to get in front of hundreds of travel journalists and industry experts, building talkability about Aldi launching a travel arm.
Private media interviews were set up at the event with selected titles including Travel Weekly, Travel Trade Gazette, Travelmole and The Guardian Travel. In addition, press packs including creative gifts – Estrucian pots (decorative clay money pots which need to be smashed to get the saved money out) with the tag line ‘A break you’ll remember at a price you’ll love’ were given to the journalists.
Weber Shandwick also developed an interactive stand space in the exhibition hall which created a presence for Aldi Travel amongst key industry players.
The second phase of the campaign was focussed on building maximum noise around the website launch on January 8. Weber Shandwick secured interviews with Paul Foley and national business editors with the angle ‘Why travel? Why Now?’ Interviews secured included BBC Radio 5 Live, Daily Mail, FT, The Times, Daily Mirror and The Independent.
To drive broadcast coverage Weber Shandwick recruited independent travel expert Simon Calder to take part in a radio day of interviews with national and regional stations discussing the launch of Aldi Travel in addition to general travel trends in 2009. Simon’s expertise in travel provided a strong editorial hook and added further credibility.
To coincide with the interviews, Weber Shandwick secured 30 regional radio competitions to win Aldi Travel-themed holiday packs featuring products from Aldi stores. The packs were designed not only to cross-promote Aldi’s core supermarket offering but demonstrate the type of holidays available – summer sun, ski and city breaks.
In addition, Weber Shandwick looked to generate a high profile presence online by creating Web TV, an interactive GMTV-style experience with Simon Calder and Aldi Travel, where users could post their travel questions for the experts to answer. The programme was then streamed live on various websites including Ivillage and Tiscali.
Following a big bang launch which generated a vast amount of media coverage and word of mouth, the third phase of the campaign saw Weber Shandwick establish a hard working travel press office to ensure Aldi Travel regularly appears alongside the big travel operators.
In the three month period from November 2008 to January 2009 Weber Shandwick achieved a total PR value of £2.5m.
Following the activity at WTM, 24 pieces of coverage were achieved with a PR value of £285,165. Coverage included TTG, Travel Weekly and Travelmole and consumer travel pages including Which, The Times, CN Traveller and Marie Claire.
Following the launch in early January, the CEO of Aldi was interviewed by the FT, Daily Mirror, The Independent, The Mail, The Times and Daily Express with coverage averaging a page per publication.
Broadcast coverage for the launch of Aldi Travel has included Radio 5 Live, Radio 2 and 4, BBC Breakfast, Working Lunch and numerous regional radio and TV stations, including BBC Radio Newcastle and NW Tonight.
On the day the site went live, Aldi Travel had 300,000 hits - 200,000 more than anticipated. 200 holidays were booked within the first 12 hours of the site going live. The target was 60.
On launch week Aldi Travel was ranked no. 9 in the Hitwise Top 10 most popular travel websites alongside key industry players Thomas Cook and TUI.
The initial launch campaign more than surpassed the original objectives set by the client.
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