CAMPAIGNS: Product PR - PR for king of the king cakes

Client: Sav-A-Center (New Orleans)

Client: Sav-A-Center (New Orleans)

Client: Sav-A-Center (New Orleans)



PR Team: Logan Marketing and the Louisiana Children’s Museum (New

Orleans)



Campaign: World’s Largest & Longest King Cake



Time Frame: February 1 to March 4, 2000



Budget: dollars 2,000





The king cake: it’s as synonymous with Mardi Gras as ’throws’ (the beads

and doubloons tossed during the parade season).



But the stuffed, icing-topped pastry with a hint of cinnamon has become

a ubiquitous Louisiana treat. Over the past 10 years, Sav-A-Center, the

southern division of A&P Foods, has seen its king cake business grow

significantly, says Steve Roberts, director of deli products and baked

goods.



But Sav-A-Center wanted more. So when the Louisiana Children’s Museum

lost a grocery store exhibit because its sponsor went out of business,

Sav-A-Center saw its opportunity. And it didn’t hurt that a principal of

Logan Marketing & Communications, the food chain’s PR firm, sits on the

museum’s board.





Strategy



An idea was conceived to create a king cake extravaganza and charity

drive during Mardi Gras, then donate the proceeds to the museum.

Save-A-Center would bake the world’s biggest king cake and give away

slices for a minimum dollars 2 donation.



Because the event, to be held at a local mall, would coincide with the

Mardi Gras festivities, timing was a major concern, says Betsie Gambel,

Logan’s director of PR. Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie was

selected, partly because it could easily accommodate all the equipment

and crew needed to assemble the planned 200-foot-long cake, which would

serve about 500 people.



Each donor received a goody bag containing coupons and Sav-A-Center

samples.



In keeping with the king cake tradition, tiny plastic dolls were baked

into the pastry. Donors who found a doll in their slice won prizes

ranging from TVs and VCRs to a Hawaiian trip for two. A silent auction -

with items that included a big-screen TV and autographed Saints

footballs - was also held to benefit the museum.





Tactics



The local print and broadcast media were bombarded with press releases

publicizing the event. They were also invited to a Sav-A-Center bakery

to watch children help prepare the dough for the massive cake. Celebrity

cutters from the local news organizations were also invited, encouraging

still more news coverage. The day before the event, media alerts

complete with miniature king cakes were sent to news outlets throughout

the area.





Results



Just a few people were milling around early that Saturday before Mardi

Gras as the Sav-A-Center and museum volunteers finished off the cake,

Roberts says. ’I looked up again and the line had wrapped around the

mall for about a quarter of a mile.’ The finished cake ended up being

more than 185 feet long, and donations totaled dollars 15,000, including

proceeds from the auction.





Future



’For now, we’ll just rest on our laurels until someone decides to

challenge our effort,’ Roberts says.



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