KETC puts PR plan into gear to promote documentary

KETC was commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to produce Gearing Up, a documentary about the 2008 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition.

Client: KETC Channel 9 (St. Louis, MO) and American Public Television (Boston, MA)
Agency: Fifth House PR (Boston, MA)
Campaign: Gearing Up
Duration: July – December 2009
Budget: $20,000 (PR portion)

KETC was commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to produce Gearing Up, a documentary about the 2008 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition. The film, released September 6, 2009, would act as a focal point for CPB's larger initiative to engage youth in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, and KETC also led seven other stations in this national effort. Programming distribution organization American Public Television (APT) was tapped to develop an integrated campaign. APT hired Fifth House PR to help KETC's internal team execute PR.

Tom Davison, APT's director of business development, says the objective was to secure and promote air dates and create an online presence to engage audiences on the documentary and the STEM initiative.

Strategy
Davison also hired Hope Reed Marketing to target 57 key stations and secure air dates. FIRST members and advocates would also help encourage stations to air Gearing Up. Director of Fifth House PR Chris Kelly was focused on getting media coverage.

KETC was tasked with driving social media outreach and creating the Web site gearingupproject.org.

Tactics
Once broadcast dates were secure, Kelly targeted TV, education, and science/technology writers in each market. He also pitched national tech bloggers. Talking points were crafted for FIRST members who spoke on behalf of the film. KETC's in-house team went after hometown coverage in St. Louis and launched Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace pages.

Project manager at KETC Sonya Berkbigler says social media channels were key to connecting with teens. The Facebook page, which provides facts, links to videos, and media coverage, helped build a base following before the Web site launch. The site includes press resources, FIRST team information, a blog about the competition, and a section for viewers to post thoughts, photos, or videos. Promotional videos and videos of FIRST teams not featured in the film were posted on YouTube. All the channels were crossed-linked.

Results
For the period of September 1 through February 3, Trac Media Services reports 1,606 telecasts (429 stations; 143 markets; 83.31% coverage).

Berkbigler is very pleased with the numbers and the inspirational impact she's seen anecdotally.

Media impressions exceeded 1.67 million in outlets including Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer. Online coverage included Wired.com, Discovery.com, and HowStuffWorks.com.

Site visits total 1,611 (September to January 7), and 425 DVDs have been sold.

Future
Though Berkbigler says primary promotional efforts now will be handled in-house, APT will continue to support promotion of the film until its contract ends in 2011.


Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gearingupproject

twitter:

the FIRST wiki: http://www.firstwiki.net/index.php/Gearing_Up

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/493424621

Stumpedia: http://www.stumpedia.com/results/?cx=partner-pub-7702445471716240%3Ahr3v0i-lma3&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Robot&btnG=Stumpedia+Search

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