VH1's Save the Music Foundation, a charity that works to provide new and used instruments to public school music programs, decided that a splashy New York party would be a great way to leverage its 10th anniversary celebration for fundraising and publicity.
The organization turned to Susan Blond, Inc. to help pull off the communications for the event.
"While we've done a lot of events, we've never done anything of this magnitude," says Paul Cothran, executive director of STM. "This was the perfect opportunity for us to have a gala that would be a major fundraiser."
The party was designed to celebrate the group's major contributors, and it promised to be a star-studded affair. Elizabeth Rosenthal, Susan Blond VP, decided a slow-reveal would maximize publicity.
"Instead of [doing] one big announcement two months before announcing this event," she says, "we realized that we could, with the caliber of names, roll it out [over time]."
Rosenthal issued her first announcement, about John Mayer's performance, in March. Then she announced Mariah Carey in June, and Bill and Hillary Clinton in July. The agency also ran local media campaigns in five markets throughout the country from which students were drawn to perform onstage at the gala.
Traditional press from the Today Show, the Associated Press and others guaranteed a level
of good buzz going into the event.
The gala sold out, raising $2 million for the charity. Cothran says the event "was absolutely flawless."
STM and Susan Blond will continue to work together on future projects.
PR team: VH1 Save the Music Foundation (New York) and Susan Blond, Inc. (New York)
Campaign: VH1 Save the Music Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala
Duration: January-September 2007