Case Study: Poison Pen Letters

Case Study

(Winner: International Communicator Crystal Award of Excellence)

Poison Pen Letters, a Los Angeles greeting card company with a line of “wickedly funny” greeting cards and just one part-time employee, wished to increase its exposure and distribution in communities with large populations of college students. The company, a low-budget startup, was about to launch a web-based service that would send greeting cards anonymously, through the US Mail.

Harris Communications researched the market, then wrote and disseminated a humorous press release with the goal of garnering media attention to promote traffic to the Web site in time for Valentine?s Day sales.

The launch release, with the subhead “For Valentine?s Day, or ?whenever you care enough to send the very worst?,” was faxed to publications in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Albany, New York, the company owner?s home town.

As a result of our efforts, the owner was interviewed on four Los Angeles television stations and by the Los Angeles Business Journal; on Clearwater Radio; by the Akron Beacon Journal; Reuters, the Albany Times Union, on the statewide television program “Good Morning Arizona and by the Arizona State University Daily; by Boulder Weekly Buzz; Nashville City Paper; New York Metro– and twice by the Boston Herald, which ran articles in both its business and lifestyle sections.

The release was also picked up on numerous Web sites, in several languages. The sites; McCall?s online; Nuevo Sito; Noticias; and, as well as Web such as poison-perfumes; send-flowers; pagan-greeting-cards; Yugioh God Cards; christmas-greeting-cards; send-anonymous-email printable-greeting-cards; dachshund-e-cards; java-greeting-cardkids; valentine-cards; send-anonymous-email; and money.

As a result of the coverage, traffic to increased exponentially. The Poison Pen Letter cards were subsequently licensed by a Florida-based national distribution company, which is currently marketing them to card and novelty shops nationwide.