Winners 2018

Best media relations campaign

MewTube: Black Friday at Argos
Agencies: Hope&Glory, Markettiers

Black Friday, which takes place the day after Thanksgiving, symbolises the start of the Christmas shopping season when retailers launch special short-term offers to attract customers. It is also now the most important day of the year for Argos.

But while shoppers love the offers, research found that they hated the chaos on the high street. It was the perfect time for Argos in 2017 to highlight its move away from a catalogue heritage brand to a cutting-edge digital retailer. But first it needed to get customers to visit its online store.

After learning that consumers watch cat videos to relax, the solution emerged as MewTube, a stream of four kittens playing in a pen littered with Argos gifts. Although a PR idea, the business bought into MewTube and signed over the Argos home page and the customer digital channels.

The kittens were filmed playing, sleeping, running and gamboling around Black Friday deals, such as a Princess Castle and X-Box One X. This was streamed as ‘live’ to the site.

Coverage began almost immediately after MewTube went live, appearing in publications such as the METRO, Daily Star, Daily Mirror and BBC News Online, as well as tech sites, such as Gizmodo. The kittens also attracted the interest of regional media, which was vital for Argos with 845 stores nationwide.

Using MewTube as a hook, Hope&Glory issued 20 separate releases in the run up and across Black Friday, from information about specific deals to the news that it was hiring an additional 10,000 staff to handle the rush. It announced that 80 per cent of Argos sales would come from mobile and that 70,000 people an hour were visiting the site during peak periods.

The campaign delivered more than 700 pieces of coverage, including 217 items of print coverage. Almost half the online coverage came from national media titles. Analysis also revealed that more than 60 per cent of online articles carried links back to the Argos site, helping to build organic search for the brand. Each piece carried the message that Argos was running some of the best Black Friday deals around, and the place to get them was on its website.

There were also 70 articles about MewTube and its kittens – each piece carried a backlink to the Argos MewTube pages, helping to drive traffic – and more than 18,000 views of their antics. The average visitor stayed on the site for seven minutes. But more impressively, those visitors that viewed MewTube spent, on average, £30 more than those who did not see the stream.

More than two million people – a record number – visited the Argos site in the four hours after the retailer launched its Black Friday deals, drawn in by the coverage they had read in the days running up to the shopping event.