Prepared 4 Life is a Houston-based organization that works with young adults, preparing them for the challenges of life. So what better experience for young adults to learn about finance and personal responsibility than by operating a lemonade stand?
The organization, along with Pennino and Partners (P&P), launched Lemonade Day in 2007 and got more than 2,600 children to register their stands. Prepared 4 Life launched a public awareness campaign four months prior to the event to increase the number of participants to more than 10,000.
With less than six months to publicize the event, Prepared 4 Life and P&P had to quickly raise public awareness of the family-friendly effort to parts of the community most likely to participate, including Boy and Girl Scout groups, church organizations, YMCAs, Junior Achievement, and parents, says Julie Eberly, VP of development at Prepared 4 Life.
The organization also sought to include members of Houston's growing Spanish-speaking community and reached out to them directly by creating Spanish-language promotional materials, Eberly adds.
The group looked for media exposure “early and often,” according to Laura Pennino, CEO of P&P, by doing radio and media interviews, appearing on public affairs shows, and distributing press releases in the months leading up the event, held on May 4. Prepared 4 Life also conducted outreach to sports reporters, leveraging the involvement of former Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell, who made promotional appearances prior to the main event. P&P also distributed PSAs and a few essays written by participants of the event.
“We had to have a crescendo effect, and as you can imagine, it was really challenging,” Pennino says. “We had to hit every type of media.”
The team also pitched “mommy bloggers” and employed YouTube and Facebook.
The event itself was more successful than planned, with more than 11,000 children signing up to work on lemonade stands during the day at myriad locations throughout Houston.
The organization was also able to collect thousands of dollars in donations from banks and other sources.
In addition, the team secured more than 50 radio, print, and TV interviews in English and Spanish media. It also garnered media coverage for its pre-event, day-of-event, and post-event coverage from national and local English and Spanish print, radio, and broadcast outlets in the Houston area.
It also secured one of the participants' essays on Houston Public Radio's “This I Believe” show (only 20% get accepted).
“We are looking at year three and planning for Houston,” Eberly says. “We are also looking at how to make this a reputable model across the country,”
PR team: Prepared 4 Life and Pennino & Partners (both Houston)
Campaign: Lemonade Day 2008
Duration: January-May 2008
As Prepared 4 Life's top priority in this event was to instill values of self reliance and entrepreneurship into Houston-area youths, it picked a perfect event to do so with Lemonade Day. The group also followed up its positive idea with a suitable publicity campaign for the event, attracting more than 11,000 registrants to the event.
Prepared 4 Life, realizing that it did not have more than a few months to publicize the event, also expediently peppered local print and broadcast media with story pitches and interview opportunities, as well as adequately reaching out to local groups.