CAMPAIGNS: Delicate job required for fighter deal - Corporate PR

Client: Lockheed Martin

PR Team: In-house with support from US agency Public Strategies


Campaign: Joint Strike Fighter announcement

Timescale: Immediate upon announcement

Budget: Undisclosed

US aeronautical company Lockheed Martin, in partnership with British

Aerospace, was awarded the biggest ever defence contract last month with

a $200bn (£140bn) assignment to build the joint strike

fighter - the first aircraft that will be used by the US navy, air force

and marines at the same time. It will also be used by the Royal Navy and

the RAF.


Given concern over civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the extent and

nature of communications were problematic. The company did not want the

story to be part of the war coverage or to be seen as too


Strategy and Plan

The initial announcement was made by the Pentagon. LM carried a direct

feed of the announcement live on its website and company sites. The plan

was to follow the Pentagon announcement with remarks from the chairman,

who was given alternative speeches for a win, a loss or an indeterminate

outcome. The remarks were scripted to recognise the responsibility the

company had been given and to be restrained in victory or gracious in


Measurement and Evaluation

The company had coverage in all the US media markets in what was

described as 'the right tone'. There were 644 pulls from its satellite

feed of the announcement from all over the world. Fifty domestic and

international reporters attended a teleconference after the announcement

had been made and high visibility of the win resulted.


The company took a risk in lining up executives to make a live statement

regardless of the outcome. Externally the company was successful in

achieving coverage for its win but only partially successful in

divorcing it from the war coverage. The company seems to have met all

its internal goals.

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