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Case Study – Launching the Raspberry Pi with Farnell element14

Posted by Andrew Shephard on 31st October 2012

“This was an ambitious project dropped on to a team I’d not worked with before with no notice, the impact to our business was instant and is still influencing the adoption of new customers today.” Ken Leitch Global Head of PR Premier Farnell plc.

The Challenge

Farnell element14, part of the Premier Farnell Group, is a high service global electronics distributor. In March 2012 it was to be one of only two global distributors of Raspberry Pi – a ground-breaking $35 credit-card sized computer.

This all happened before EML Wildfire was retained to coordinate global PR for the business, and there were just two weeks to plan and execute the project from a standing start. The client’s distribution agreement was also non-exclusive, so PR efforts were going head-to-head with its main competitor (also a global distribution business) and Raspberry Pi’s own PR machine.

Strong trade, national and consumer tech media contacts and differentiated tactics were needed to make Farnell element14 stand out and create long-term value beyond the initial launch.

Strategy and deployment

Promote element14’s unique collaborative community as the place for everyone from developers, modders, coders and programmers to discuss, share and develop their ideas and fully utilise the game-changing potential of the Raspberry Pi computer.

EML Wildfire recruited and coordinated its agency partners in four key territories – North America, Germany, India and China – whilst taking direct responsibility for all content generation and direct media outreach in the rest of Europe and Asia- Pacific.

Highlights include:

Developing a compelling but simple news story for the media, aligned with Raspberry Pi’s own messages, whilst emphasising the benefits of the element14 community to potential buyers around the globe.

Creating a suite of additional communication assets for editors including:

  • Guest blog copy – for trade and higher-level consumer audiences
  • Video content – critically an “unboxing” video to complement and an interview between element14’s CEO and Raspberry Pi’s co-founder
  • Harnessing the social media buzz and using all channels available to sustain interest long after the distribution of the main news story was complete including personalised demonstrations to influential media and bloggers.


In the first 24 hours:

  • 225 items of global broadcast, print and online coverage inc. BBC, CNN, Pocket-Lint and key trade media
  • 22,000 views of the product unboxing video 300% spike in web hits for element14
  • 1700 new element14 community registrations (a record)

In the first 3 weeks:

  • 682 pieces of media coverage spanning more than 50 countries
  • A by-lined CEO opinion article in Wired
  • 315 million potential reach worldwide

In March:

  • 11,440 people registered with the element14 community as a result of Raspberry Pi
  • 1,346,043 visits to the element14 site were attributable to Raspberry Pi

To date

  • The unboxing video has nearly 400,000 views

Round up

This was not an expensive campaign; it primarily targeted professional technology purchasers, hobbyists and engineers, yet it generated consumer campaign levels of response and social media engagement. Crucially, it ensured element14 gained at least equivalent levels of coverage to its close competitor in all regions, but achieved significantly more in Germany and China.

It was also the first time element14 had used the same brand in a worldwide announcement and, in spite of it being a less familiar brand in some regions, the coverage map had no weak areas.

Andrew Shephard

Andrew’s engineering background and ‘fluff-free’ attitude combined with probably the broadest knowledge of technology installed in one PR brain ensures critical insight for Wildfire’s clients. He has driven campaigns for major forces in the semiconductor industry over 18 years including NEC Electronics, Sun Microelectronics and TSMC along with game-changing start-ups like Achronix and Nujira.