Adactus: Creating a buzz around the first universal social distancing app – SmartQ – for a successful launch

The Campaign

SmartQ, the innovative, new ‘take-a-ticket’ app from Adactus, is the solution to the rapidly increasing issue of social distance queuing. Launching a campaign across national and regional media, HeadOn PR harnessed widespread demand before its successful release.

Our Client
Adactus is a people-first technology company. With their cutting-edge strategies, technological know-how and extensive experience, the team behind Adactus have the skills to transform their clients’ businesses by putting in place the right people, right technology and right solutions. With well-known brands including TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut, Café Rouge, Goals Soccer Centres and many more, Adactus partners with their clients for continuous improvement and innovation, inspired by technology.

PR to help attract retailers and shoppers

Having developed SmartQ by Adactus, a pioneering solution for the long queues experienced when waiting to enter a shop due to the social distancing restrictions, Adactus had a product that would no doubt be in demand. As the UK eased out of the COVID-19 lockdown, the public was keen to get back to some sense of normality. However, queues outside shops were increasing, and as more businesses opened, maintaining safe social distancing would be a challenge.

SmartQ by Adactus is an app, free to the public, that ensures safer, smarter and more convenient queuing when shopping. Customers simply book a convenient time to join the queue and wait in comfort and safety elsewhere until they receive an alert that it is time to proceed to the store. The app also includes data on estimated wait times and the number of people ahead in the queue. Consumers can even register without the use of the smartphone app. Undoubtedly an ingenious solution, SmartQ had come at the right time to be well-received on the market.

Adactus approached HeadOn PR, a Cheltenham PR agency, for support in getting the retailers on board. The app would be beneficial for all size stores and types of retailers; from small boutiques where only one person could shop at a time to large high street chains, where long queues for multiple stores in a shopping district could cause logistical and safety concerns. SmartQ also benefited the leisure and hospitality sector for restaurants, gyms and other facilities once they were open and required careful management of customer numbers.

Building public awareness of the new product was also needed to demonstrate consumer buy-in and demand for this service to the retail sector.

The Results

Regional Oxfordshire launch

The first step in our strategy was a soft launch approaching the regional and industry-specific press to build awareness of SmartQ and to encourage retailers’ interest. In the local area of Oxfordshire, retailers were offered a four-week trial of the new app.

Scott Muncaster, Managing Director of Adactus, was the face of the campaign, where he identified the significant disruption and frustration that shoppers were experiencing and the need for a solution.

With their ethos of putting people at the heart of their initiatives, Scott highlighted how Adactus had developed SmartQ to support the nation during these unprecedented times, bringing ‘a much safer, fairer and convenient queuing system to the UK.’

The regional soft launch received comprehensive interest. BBC Radio Oxford (73,000 live listeners and 38 million website visitors) aired a live interview with Scott. He also featured in a pre-recorded interview broadcast in JackFM’s news bulletins throughout their breakfast show and included on their weekly JackFM viral podcast. Further significant regional exposure included an appearance on That’s Thames Valley TV, a feature in the Oxford Mail and an in-depth article in the LocalGov e-newsletter.

Building national brand awareness

When the campaign to promote SmartQ by Adactus was launched from 19th May, the UK was mostly still in full lockdown. However, the government had updated its slogan from the original ‘Stay at Home’ to ‘Stay Alert’. Non-essential shops were still closed, but plans were in place for them to reopen in June. Supermarkets remained one of the few types of stores open, leading to queues circling the edge of their car parks. The soft launch of SmartQ was, therefore, very well-timed to the requirement and, it was soon followed by an equally successful national launch.

We expanded the reach nationally using our print and broadcast media contacts to gain interviews on popular radio shows and UK-wide coverage with prevalent online media. Building awareness in the retail sector to secure brands interested in taking on the SmartQ app remained central to the success of the campaign so, suitable broadcasters and publishers were approached to bring this technology to the industry’s attention.

Across the national, regional and industry-specific media, Adactus was featured in 15 media, reaching over 38 million of its customers and retailers online and 10,000 print readers.

Scott Muncaster was interviewed live on TalkRADIO’s Penny Smith Breakfast Show on a Sunday. As the UK’s leading talk radio station, over 400,00 people tune in a week and 454,000 visit its website every month.

Hitting our objective of engaging with the retail sector, HeadOn PR secured prominent coverage in Retail Insight Network, a leading online trade publication focusing on global and local markets, and retail technology. With an average of 25.5K monthly visits, showcasing SmartQ through this medium achieved excellent industry attention.

As well as retail-specific interest, we also gained publicity for SmartQ by Adactus from the business and technology sector, with features appearing in Gigabit (the technology magazine covering digital transformation), BusinessCloud and Business & Innovation Magazine.

When non-essential shops reopened their doors on the 15th June, Adactus had successfully started the process of securing its first retailers; eager to put into practice the positive impact of its ‘take-a-ticket’ queuing app to improve the consumers’ overall experience in a social distancing world.

Key media coverage highlights

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