MarketingMonitor: 10 July 2001, Vol. II, Issue 3

July. 10, 2001 Vol. II, Issue 3
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1) Intro

2) News: Just for a change... GOOD news stories

3) Case Study: 50+ Websites Run Encyclopaedia Britannica Competition

4) Info: About the publisher

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This week we have a couple of good news stories. Ok, so things are bad out there. All the more reason to give space to a recent report that signals unexpected optimism within the industry. Plus how Britannica made learning fun and boosted their brand online.

NEXT WEEK: the changing world of online advertising. As CTRs, CPCs and all the other acronyms hit the rocks, the branding impact of online ads is finally being taken seriously. We look at some of the research breathing new life into the humble banner.

Don't forget, we're always happy to hear your suggestions for case studies and news stories. If you think you've got a good tale to tell, contact the editor at


* Top Brass Look On The Bright Side

Adobe have just published their Brave New World report 2001, a report looking at the current state and future development of the new media design industry. If you're expecting a bleak outlook, the report has plenty of pleasant surprises.

Agencies have confidence in market growth with 97% of Managing Directors and CEOs predicting an average 27% increase in turnover during 2001. The reasons? There is a belief in a demand for new media services from blue-chip clients combined with the growth in broadband design and new non-pc platforms. But the key to survival is adapting to these changes.

51% of the big cheeses surveyed think it's time to diversify and start offering services such as brand consultancy and database design and management and even media planning services and e-CRM. Although there is confidence that new technologies will generate a growing percentage of revenues, unsurprisingly there is a more cautious attitude to jumping on bandwagons.

Great news, at least if taken at face value. The report was commissioned at the start of 2001 prior to some of the more bloody episodes of the recent consolidation within the industry. If the survey was repeated now, would the answers be the same? Time will tell whether those expectations of growth will pan out. Let's hope so... one thing is clear, surviving may also mean getting into bed with bigger players, with over 50% of recently merged companies linking up with advertising agencies.

For the full report, visit:

* score £3m Vodafone Sponsorship

If the Adobe report wasn't enough good news then here's another snippet. Youthnet UK, the charity behind the youth advice site,, has found a wealthy friend in Vodafone. The telecoms company has donated £3 million enabling the charity to grow its off and online services at a time when many sites reaching a similar audience are pulling in the belt. Who says the sponsorship market is dead? provides free information and advice to 16-25 year olds on topics such as drugs, sex and education and has a vast database of UK advice groups and helplines. Aside from development of the current website, spending plans include a programme of free Internet access kiosks for youth welfare centres as well as a mobile Internet cafe.

In return for their generosity, Vodafone receive branding on every page of the site plus branding across offline activities such as the kiosk and also in advice booklets to be distributed at colleges and universities this year. Vodafone were keen to make a link with a charity and were drawn to Youthnet because the audience represents a group they are keen to reach. also stands out as a publication that talks directly with teenagers and offers advice without being 'parental' - a rare position and clearly one which some will pay high to share.

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CASE STUDY: Britannica

* Over 50 Sites Run Encyclopaedia Britannica Competition


The door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman is a rare sight these days. Was it the wealth of information available online that caused the death of the purveyor of invaluable tomes of general knowledge? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is no. In the digital age, the biggest name in encyclopaedias, Britannica, has seen online sales of CDs and DVDs grow. In sales of interactive reference material Britannica is ranked second in DVD sales and 12th in CD sales. They now do more selling desktop to desktop than door to door.

Britannica is a trusted brand, long associated with well-researched and reliable information on a vast array of subjects. The encyclopaedias are regarded as a valuable reference tool for school students by both the students and their parents. The Internet may provide plenty of reference information but encyclopaedias hold the information in one accessible, safe, reliable place.

Britannica approached agency, iJack, to develop a strategy to drive online sales of CDs/DVDs. Britannica wanted to align a slightly 'old fashioned' brand with modern technology, to re-enforce Britannica as a solid, trustworthy educational tool and to get this message out to the key audiences of parents and school children.


The strategy devised by iJack was simple. A long-term programme of promotions was created to run across carefully selected sites - those appealing to parents and homework sites aimed at school children.

The campaign was run over a period of fifteen months with extra activity during key sales periods in September 2000 (the new school year), running up to Christmas 2000 and Easter 2001.


In total over 50 sites were targeted with promotions highlighted in the publication's email newsletter. Many of the promotions were easy-entry competitions (e.g. multiple choice questions). These were accompanied by low-key advertorial, product shots and links to the site. Sites targeted included many family ISPs such as Freeserve, AOL and Compuserve.

The promotions aimed at the younger audience were placed on sites where the kids would be in 'homework mode' and more likely to interact with an educational brand. Copies of encyclopaedias were offered as incentives for competitions that required a high level of participation from the youngsters.

For example on readers of the Newsround section were asked to submit a mock newspaper report. The best entries as judged by Newsround had their work published on the website and collected their prize of a Britannica encyclopaedia.

The encyclopaedias were incentives for submitting good work - a strategy also used in offline activity. Britannica sponsored prizes for's Virtual Versailles Project. The project asked children to re-write the Versailles Treaty and was promoted in The Guardian newspaper. Encyclopaedias were also on offer in a prize draw in the offline newsletter.

Other promotions requiring participation included a prize draw on S-Cool, a homework resource site. CDs and DVDs were used as an incentive to take part in the site's annual student survey. On Freeserve, a prize draw was open to users submitting questions to a debate about electronic learning.

All in all, the competitions received over 18,500 entries but editorial and branded pages reached an audience of several hundred thousand.


Agency fees averaged £1,500 per month, varying according to the change in activity seasonally with prizes supplied by Britannica. After the initial flurry of launch activity in February 1999, iJack have worked on a project basis, concentrating activity during the key sales periods of Easter, Christmas and the new school year.


Marketing to children and teenagers brings with it a whole range of restrictions. For Britannica it was important not to be seen to target this audience too aggressively and to avoid compromising the educational values of the brand. An 'educational brand' faces it's own problems - as many parents know, making homework fun can be a challenge.

The campaign avoided a 'hard sell' attitude by placing Britannica where it would be perceived as an aid to learning and by catching youngsters when they would be most receptive - when they were learning.

Christine Hodgson, Marketing Manager of Britannica, acknowledged that it wasn't easy to measure the effect of iJack's work on sales. Shoppers who delay getting out the credit card online straight away, may still buy later either on or offline. But Britannica did see a growth in online sales during the campaign and were pleased with the results.

"iJack targetted the audience perfectly and gave Britannica exposure on a good cross section of sites and we saw a good increase in traffic to all Britannica sites. Product awareness is high and Britannica CD Roms and DVDs have remained in the top ten sales for interactive learning material throughout the campaign"

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Publisher: Sam Michel
Feature Writer: Anna Herzberg

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