AARS makes a name for roses

Placement: USA Today, April 21, 2006

Placement: USA Today, April 21, 2006

Who is your client and what are its media goals?

Sarah Youngbauer: Our client is All-America Rose Selections (AARS), a nonprofit dedicated to the introduction and promotion of exceptional roses. Its goal is to educate consumers and to help establish the rose as the number-one plant in US gardens.

What made USA Today such a desired placement for AARS and how did you pitch the editors?

Youngbauer: USA Today was on our top-tier wish list because it has a wide-ranging demographic and AARS wanted to reach both older readers who are already into gardening, as well as a younger audience that may not know how easy today's roses are to grow and how beautiful they look.

I'd seen an article that USA Today features editor Olivia Barker did on a rose named John Paul II, so I e-mailed her, referencing that story and noting there are other roses named after celebrities, including the 2006 AARS winner, the Julia Child rose.

Plants don't normally have a huge celebrity angle. Was that the hook that got Barker interested?

Youngbauer: It's true that they often don't, but it helped that my pitch also included a tongue-in-cheek reference to how inspirational it would be for backyard cooks to have a Julia Child rose next to their grill during barbecue season.

Did you have to do a lot of legwork for the piece?

Youngbauer: No. Barker used quotes from my pitch, but she then found her own photograph and also tracked down and interviewed an industry expert, Ellen Trice of the American Rose Society, on her own.

What was the impact of the hit?

Youngbauer: The piece, which included the AARS Web site address, ran in the Life section April 21st with a huge picture of a Julia Child rose. Traffic to the AARS site went up immediately and the story also played a role in prompting other reporters to write on the trend of naming roses after celebrities.

Name: Sarah Youngbauer, AE, Ruder Finn, San Francisco

Placement: USA Today, April 21, 2006

Pitch Timeline: One month

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