MarketingMonitor: Hoovers Case Study


Straight talking game gets the message across for key business information site.

Ever sat in a company meeting and felt dis-empowered as you watched others leverage the low hanging fruit whilst you blue-skied, attempting to envisage you're own win-win situation? Confused? You're not alone. Convoluted and unnecessary business language costs companies millions of pounds each year in lost sales and wasted marketing campaigns. And if you've ever sat in a jargon-fuelled business meeting, you'll know the lack of plain English is just plain annoying.

This sentiment was at the heart of the marketing campaign devised by PR agency, Gnash, for their client,, a business information site that carries company details along with news and other resources across a range of industries. The campaign was designed to raise awareness of the Hoovers site but sside from generating traffic, Gnash also wanted to reinforce the no-nonsense, straight talking brand values of Hoovers.

Gnash decided to create an online game called Death by Jargon in which contestants are viciously punished for using jargon in business situations. The aim was to create a game that would be entertaining enough for people to forward the game page link via email to their friends and colleagues.

The Death By Jargon gameshow was held on a microsite linked from the Hoovers homepage. The microsite included extra features such as 'Humiliate a colleague' where businesspeople could submit the names of jargon-loving colleagues and the jargon they use most. Another feature was 'Jargon Offender of the week' - the week's classic quote. Users could also submit their favourite piece of dodgy lingo to the 'Death Row' section with the chance to win a prize.

Targeting potential Hoovers readers, Gnash headed for the email newsletters of publications including the Wall Street Journal Europe, London Business School, First Tuesday and Industry Standard Europe. Aside from links within targeted newsletters, the game was also announced to a number of Gnash PR's contacts with the number of promotional emails sent totalling 90,000. Death By Jargon was also given lead position on the homepage of the Hoovers UK site.

The email campaign produced a high response rate with 1,600 users hitting the game on the first day of the campaign. During the month after launch, the game received 30,000 page impressions and overall the Hoovers site saw a 150% increase in unique users.

For the brand, the campaign was successful in promoting the link between Hoovers and a no-nonsense approach to business information - along with The Guardian, The Independent and the Daily Telegraph , the game was also noted by the Financial Times.

Gehan Talwatte, MD of Hoover's Online Europe felt that the campaign went beyond expectations and was pleased with results, linking the success to choosing the right topic at the right time:

"I think the campaign's success can be attributed to the fact that this topic has touched a chord among people in the workplace. [Jargon] is creating a code that only a small group of people understand and people are objecting to it. People have responded to our campaign because it has given them a place where they can name and shame their colleagues for using jargon, where they can celebrate being jargon-free."

Related links:
Death By Jargon
Gnash PR