Wet 10th Anniversary and annual Love benefit
Think PR, Wet Productions (both NY)
Jan 15-Feb 9
Wet Productions, a nonprofit that produces educational programs and media advocating gender equality, celebrated its 10th anniversary in February with its annual Love benefit featuring short plays sel performed by well-known actors like Blythe Danner and Deborah Messing. Though the organization celebrates new programs and celebrity relationships, it had only ever generated buzz via word-of-mouth and donor relations. This year, Wet tapped Think PR to leverage its status for greater awareness about the organization's programs, mission, and gala, according to Victoria Pettibone, cofounder and executive producer at Wet.
“They felt they were in a good place and had enough time to figure out what works and what doesn't,” adds Claudine Gumbel, partner at Think.
"The company is creative and celebrates equality, and our PR campaign was designed to enhance this brand essence," added Andrew Young, AE and one of the leads on the account at Think.
The team educated the participating actors about Wet's mission to garner more media coverage in both theater and general media that would publicize the organization beyond celebrity coverage and generate ticket sales.
“In this economy, it's much harder to fundraise, so what makes it successful for us is being able to communicate why [donors] are giving money,” says Pettibone.
The group recently launched a forum for young girls discussing topics like self esteem and nutrition, so the team thought it fitting to partner with health-oriented sponsors for the gala like Blueprint Cleanse juices and its longtime sponsor Self magazine.
The team used its Facebook page to attract event volunteers, including servers and bartenders, and focused on pre-event outreach about the anniversary to drive gala attendance and funding. This including listings in local papers and larger stories in theater sections of national and local outlets.
"The initial publicity push helped to support and ensure ticket sales," said Young.
The gala sold out, and Wet exceeded last year's fundraising amount by 25% through the sponsors, ticket sales and a silent auction. The team also garnered coverage in The New York Times and the Huffington Post, among other outlets.
“For a nonprofit to be that successful in this challenging economy was astounding,” said Pettibone.
Most surprising, perhaps, was the marriage proposal by Wet's production manager to his girlfriend during the gala, which generated more press.
Wet may extend next year's event to include longer plays and additional actors, due to an increase in demand to participate.