Creative Brand Communications

Online PR Case Study: Bebo’s Slang Dictionary.


As part of our ongoing work for Bebo we worked-up a research story that would maximise Bebo’s media presence, underlining the social media network as the voice of young Britain.


Taylor Herring suggested that Bebo unearthed the latest slang words used by teenagers in 2009 which could be included in an edition of a national dictionary. To add credibility to the campaign Taylor Herring approached the established UK publisher Harper Collins. They agreed to come on board and potentially use the words Bebo sourced in the 2009 Collins English Dictionary.

This provided two opportunities for press coverage; the debate around which words should be included (February 2009) and also an announcement of final words published (scheduled for Summer 2009). In order to uncover the new slang vernacular, we organised a focus group with a panel of teenagers who helped shortlist the most widely used words in the UK today. This shortlist of 24 words was then divided into six categories; money-orientated, girls and boys, put-downs, street language, cool and friends which were voted on by the Bebo community.

More than 15-thousand votes were cast and the most popular words were forwarded to Collins for potential inclusion in the English dictionary. The story was then sold in to all key national press, education, media and arts correspondents as well as a wide range of online targets. All of the generated coverage carried a double credit for Bebo and Collins.


The story proved hugely popular across national press with fully credited pieces running in The Sun, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and The London Paper. The teen slang words announcement also continued to generate interest long after it was released to the media.  

The story also proved a massive hit online with fully credited pieces featuring on the front page of Media Guardian, The Sun Online, Mail Online,,,, Daily Mail online The Scotsman, Channel 4 News, MSN News, Yahoo News and Brand Republic amongst others. As the story ran with two news agencies including The Press Association, it also generated a lot of regional coverage both in print and online. This included The Liverpool Daily Post, Wrexham Chronicle, Coventry Telegraph, Blackpool Gazette, Birmingham Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Halifax Courier and Hastings Observer.

Bebo is an international brand – and media from as far afield as Australia and India also picked up on the story and online pieces also featured on the sites of The Irish Examiner, The Times of India,, Indopia and The Hindu.

Our campaign reached more than 84 million people and is still being quoted and spoken about to this day.


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