Comcast adds new dimension to reputation as an innovator

Augusta National Golf Club, host of the Masters Tournament, asked Comcast to help broadcast this year's event in 3D in its clubhouse and online. Comcast proposed something much bigger.

Company

Comcast (Philadelphia)

Campaign

Launch of 3D Innovation

Duration

March 15-April 11

Budget

Approximately $1.5 million

Augusta National Golf Club, host of the Masters Tournament, asked Comcast to help broadcast this year's event in 3D in its clubhouse and online. Comcast proposed something much bigger - a partnership with the club to deliver the first live, national, multi-platform 3D broadcast of a pro golf tournament.

"It was the perfect project for PR versus advertising or any point of sale because 3D TVs weren't widely available," explains D'Arcy Rudnay, Comcast's SVP of corporate communications. "It seemed better to use this to reinforce our brand and position Comcast as an innovator in technology."

STRATEGY

The campaign centered on media and influencer relations. Comcast held events for media and VIPs, including government and business leaders, on April 8, during the first round of the tournament. Comcast communications representatives and local and national senior leaders attended these events.

"Very few people had seen 3D on TV or computers before, so events and briefings drew crowds," says Jennifer Khoury, VP of corporate communications at Comcast. "Plus, the Masters is a powerful brand and media event in and of itself."

Rudnay adds that media attention rose given that this was Tiger Woods' first tournament since news of his scandal broke.

TACTICS

The media/VIP events were held simultaneously in 19 markets. Rudnay says VIPs attending the Washington event included golf legend Greg Norman, regulatory agency leaders, and other government officials.

To ensure everyone understood and stayed on message, Rudnay says Comcast held weekly video conferences with all its communications employees leading up to the events. Messaging was provided to nearly 100 communications pros in the field, plus a number of local and national level executives who would talk to members of the media and guests.

"It was the first time 3D was going to be delivered across the country," explains Khoury. "Everyone in the field needed to understand how 3D works and how it's delivered."

A March 15 press release announced the 3D broadcast and the events. It was followed by a March 31 press conference in New York where TV and print sports media got to preview some advance footage of the golf course and talk with executives from Comcast about 3D.

Comcast targeted technology, consumer, sports, and entertainment media and bloggers throughout the campaign. Comcast's VP of video services, Jay Kreiling, discussed 3D in an SMT on April 7.

The team posted multiple messages and streamed live video of the Philadelphia event on Comcast's corporate blog. The company also posted various videos on YouTube and used two Twitter pages to disseminate messages. Additionally, Comcast employees posted information and pictures on their personal Facebook pages.

RESULTS

More than 1,700 people at-tended the 19 events. Outlets such as Golf.com, AP, Fortune, The Christian Science Monitor, CNET, and television trade outlets all covered the news. In addition, Khoury reports there were 572,416 views of the corporate blog during March and April.

Rudnay says Comcast considers the campaign "extremely successful," noting the story was covered in "some of the most important outlets in the country" and across multiple media segments.

"Innovation was talked about repeatedly," she adds. "The same words we used to describe the 3D experience were used in many articles. It came through because we were very methodical about giving messaging to everyone who was speaking on behalf of this event."

FUTURE

The team is gearing up for a couple of big launches this fall, including a large ad and PR campaign around putting TV content on computers and mobile devices.

The biggest key to the campaign's success was that a large number of communications pros and Comcast executives were informed and on message when they came in contact with media and VIPs. The decision to hold simultaneous events was wise in terms of heightening impact, but it could have fallen flat had the team not been conscientious about preparation, boosting excitement, and highlighting innovation. Giving sports media a sneak peek at 3D footage and one-on-one time with Comcast executives was also a smart strategy.

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