The Firefly Upsee, which is manufactured by Northern Ireland-based Leckey, is a standing and walking harness for children who are wheelchair-bound. Agency JPR was tasked with launching the product to an international market.
Leckey had three prime objectives. It wanted a high degree of international visibility. It wanted traffic driven to its firefly.com site. And it wanted sales, setting a target of 900 products in six months.
JPR’s strategy was to develop an emotional story around the invention, which, in effect, helps wheelchair-bound children to walk. The agency wanted to share the stories of those families who had been trialling the harness, including photographs video footage of children walking with its help.
Prior to the launch of Firefly Upsee on 24 March, JPR spent two months identifying key parenting, lifestyle and health journalists and bloggers, and then engaging with them on its benefits. Special needs bloggers from North America, Canada and the UK were flown to the launch in Leckey’s Northern Ireland factory, where Firefly Upsee’s inventor, James Leckey, was available for interview.
Within hours, the story was on Mail Online and, within one week, that one article had 498,000 shares. Firefly Upsee was also the most shared story on The Independent website in the week of launch, but was ultimately covered on more than 14,000 news sites.
The product launch was also widely reported in the print and broadcast media, with television coverage stretching from England to Australia, via Israel, Brazil and North America.
Firefly Upsee was even NBC News’ anchor Craig Melvin’s ‘invention of the week’. Ultimately, Firefly Upsee trended on Twitter and Facebook – increasing ‘likes’ on Leckey’s Facebook page from 1,500 to 7,000 – while the videos of three children walking, including Daniel (who cannot walk or talk) kicking a football with his brother Charlie, went viral. They have since been viewed by more than 400,000 people. Even Ellen DeGeneres blogged about the product.
Traffic to Leckey’s website rose from 15,000 in February to 189,000 in March and 150,000 in April. Within one day of launch, the company received 1,400 orders and has since received more than 3,500 – four times its original target.
Such interest has also had a knock on effect on other Leckey products with sales of its GoTo Seat, a lightweight, portable seating solution for children who need postural support, increasing from an average eight per day to a peak of 48 per day post-launch.
‘This campaign had clear, demonstrable results and opened new markets,’ said the judges.
‘There were very commercial objectives that were achieved through thorough planning and execution.’