CAMPAIGNS: Fashion gala helps allure an audience to Chocolate Show

PR Team: Teuwen One Image (New York) and Event International (France) Campaign: The Chocolate Show and Chocolate Fashion Gala Time Frame: March - November 2003 Budget: $100,000

PR Team: Teuwen One Image (New York) and Event International (France) Campaign: The Chocolate Show and Chocolate Fashion Gala Time Frame: March - November 2003 Budget: $100,000

Clothes that were literally good enough to eat were on display last November in New York at the Chocolate Fashion Gala, a warm-up to the Sixth Annual Chocolate Show, where some of the world's most creative chocolatiers hawk their wares. In years past, the fashion show, which features famous designers working in various forms of chocolate, was held on the morning of the show's opening and was reserved only for media and VIPs. But past success led the organizers to hold a separate gala the night before the opening, and this time they admitted the public. Six hundred attendees were greeted with a champagne and chocolate-martini reception and appetizers and desserts designed by some of New York's top chefs. They saw creations such as an evening gown from Nicole Miller that sported white-chocolate seashells, starfish, and fish bones; and Zang Toi's ballerina, whose bustier and tutu were made of dark-chocolate organza. On board again for PR duties was New York-based marketing and PR agency Teuwen One Image, which coproduced and drummed up more attention - and attendance - for the already heavily covered event. Strategy Making the fashion show more of its own event, as well as transforming it into a fundraiser for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, made the media coverage come more easily. "The most important difference is that we launched the Chocolate Show for the media and the public with a gala event the night before. It used to be a breakfast event," says Teuwen One founder Stephanie Teuwen. "The show has been gaining awareness and notoriety every year, but I think doing the gala the night before allowed all the news crews to be on-site, and made it a larger, more noteworthy event to cover." Tactics The key to grabbing the media attention was getting out early. Months before the show, Teuwen One staffers began the outreach with a series of media alerts. In October, the agency sent chocolate goodie bags (a sample of what would be at the show) to top television-news producers. The agency also executed a grassroots marketing effort that got brochures advertising the event into hotels, restaurants, and a number of corporate headquarters. It also created partnerships with Barnes & Noble, which promoted the event in 45 stores throughout the tri-state area with window displays and the distribution of 45,000 brochures. Results The Chocolate Show attracted 28,000 visitors this year on the strength of more than 300 television spots over a two-week period, compared to 180 last year. There were live interviews on CNN, the Today show, NY1, and ESPN's Cold Pizza. Print coverage included The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and the New York Sun. Moreover, the coverage expanded out of the food pages. "It used to be just food writers who were interested," Teuwen says. "Now it's lifestyle, fashion, and marketing. A lot of writers come to see what they can use for future stories. That's definitely an evolution compared to the first year, when only food writers were represented." Future Teuwen One will support the Chocolate Show again next year. "It's a fun challenge to find new angles and new ideas, and to make it interesting not only for exhibitors but also for the media to cover and for visitors to come," Teuwen says.

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