DeVries takes on television apprenticeship

NEW YORK: Madeline de Vries received some publicity in teaching the contestants of the reality show, The Apprentice, how to manufacture their own.

NEW YORK: Madeline de Vries received some publicity in teaching the contestants of the reality show, The Apprentice, how to manufacture their own.

Procter & Gamble brand Crest, a client of DeVries PR, used the two Apprentice teams to help promote its new brand of toothpaste, Vanilla Mint Crest, as part of this week's challenge.

The show, featuring real estate mogul Donald Trump, provides would-be employees with tasks and eliminates a team member from the side deemed to have performed the poorest.

Crest made the decision that it would be an interesting tactic to take to launch a new toothpaste on the Apprentice and asked its PR firm to provide the contestants with a strategic resource, according to de Vries, CEO of her eponymous firm. The teams used DeVries PR's East 60th Street office in New York to do a majority of the filming.

The first two episodes incorporated tasks involving brands Mattel and Ciao Bella. However, his was the first episode to feature an outside agency.

"It was very exciting for a PR firm to be exposed on national TV as a resource for a top brand," de Vries. "And it was nice of our client to give us that exposure."

The situation provided the viewing public "a dose of reality of [how we] make decisions for the brand every day," de Vries said, adding, "[The appearance] makes it clear that PR is definitely part of the marketing mix."

De Vries said she received an immediate inundation of congratulations for the appearance.

"We had a screening party in our offices with our client. It was exciting to watch it for the first time," de Vries said. "It give us ten minutes of fame and perhaps something to talk about at cocktail hours for a long time."

De Vries estimated that about 12 people from the agency were filmed, including financial manager William Penn, who helped the teams plan out the budget. Much of it landed on the cutting room floor and only de Vries and a staffer who helped one team move boxes ended up on camera.

In related news, the contestant fired from that episode, Stacie J., has retained 5W Public Relations for media relations and strategic communications. Ronn Torossian, 5W CEO and president, will serve as her spokesperson. The agency has planned a media event at the Subway store that Stacie owns in Harlem and a "Meet Stacie J" event for marketing and promotions executives in New York City.

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