North West group campaigns on web

A star-studded campaign for the regional assembly in the North West will launch a new web site that puts interactivity at the heart of its marketing plans.

The Necessary Group, which is backed by local luminaries such as Tony Wilson, Steve Coogan, Sir Alex Ferguson and Shaun Ryder, will use the site (www.itsnecessary.co.uk) as the focus for its fundraising and profile-building plans.

According to Wilson, the campaign was inspired by the online success of US Democratic Presidential aspirant Howard Dean. "It's not so incredibly fashionable now, but when you look at DeanforAmerica.com they do a number of exciting things and we've added a few more."

Effectively an 'interactive HQ' for the campaign, the site offers visitors the opportunity to sign up to the Necessary Group, to buy posters and T-shirts, to build a blog and obtain information on devolution.

"Fundraising will come later to the site," said Wilson. "But we are really interested in the viral-marketing possibilities of the internet. You can download a PDF of the group's declaration and ask your friends to do their bit. The community element of the web site will be key."

The site carries details of local meeting places and blog-building tools to get users running their own groups off- and online, Wilson explained.

Manchester-based digital agency magneticNorth created the site and interactive campaign. Lou Cordwell, client services director at the agency, said it used the flag that Peter Saville designed for the Necessary Group as the inspiration for the logo and interactive design.

The Necessary Group was formed in October 2002 by an independent group of North Westerners who believe the region should seize the democratic opportunity to go for elected regional government.

To give voice to those beliefs, they set about writing a Declaration of Devolution that expressed their ideas and they gained signatories from prominent figures in England's North West who wanted to be part of the campaign. A referendum is due at the end of the year.

- Terminator p82.

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