Highlighting the ‘porch piracy’ problem by consumerising a B2B topic

Andy By Andy

We’re delighted to announce that Spark has been shortlisted for two PRMoment Awards after we helped Parcel Pending by Quadient uncover the extent of the ‘porch piracy’ problem. The key to success was focusing on the human-interest part of the story and coupling it with a catchy term. Supported by targeted and creative media outreach, our data-led story got tongues wagging about parcel theft with a real ‘who’s who’ spread of coverage across broadcast, radio and national press.

We brought this story to life after a client call during which a US spokesperson used the term ‘porch pirates’ when referring to thieves who steal parcels left on people’s doorsteps. Stateside, this is a well-accepted term, but it wasn’t one we were familiar with. However, it really struck a chord with the team as many of us had experienced parcels being stolen from our own doorsteps. It was the perfect hook to bring the story to life. Although we typically focus on B2B topics for Quadient, with a consumer-interest angle we were able to highlight how porch pirates are a problem in the UK. By uncovering the scale of the issue, we set out to position Quadient as the solution – with its network of parcel lockers providing a safe place to leave deliveries, limiting opportunities for theft.

Generating original data

The team made a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to police forces in the UK to reveal just how big a problem parcel theft has become. The figures made for startling reading, with parcel theft up 50% in a year and 500% since 2019. Pulling together the data and analysing it was only half the story though – the team had to make the most of the insight generated with an effective and creative media relations strategy.

Timing is everything

Timing was a huge factor in the campaign’s success. Releasing the data in the lead-up to Black Friday widened the scope, as we knew this huge shopping event would be on the radars of newsrooms and editors up and down the country. To make the story as digestible and compelling as possible, we pulled out data relating to Black Friday and Christmas in the press release and supporting pitches.

The importance of targeting

We took a targeted media relations approach for journalists covering business, retail and consumer affairs, refining the pitches to explain why the data was relevant for each individual audience. For local media, we also identified the most interesting regional stats to appeal to reporters, such as areas with the most thefts recorded and the highest reported value of parcels stolen.

The media strategy paid dividends, with the team securing more than 50 pieces of coverage. This included a phone-in segment on BBC Radio Five Live, Rylan Clark discussing the story on ITV This Morning, and journalist and presenter Harry Wallop using the stats to lead his weekly retail column in the Financial Times. The story even led to Avon & Somerset Police to issue a warning to people about parcel theft.

Extending the media campaign

By pulling out data on unwanted returns we were able to extend the campaign beyond Christmas, securing a great piece in The Telegraph. Having engaged the journalist with the original story, this second piece enabled Quadient to spread awareness of the fact the lockers can also be used to return items.

By taking a strategic approach to media relations and ensuring excellence in implementation, we enabled Quadient to draw attention to the porch piracy problem and drive significant interest in its parcel locker products.