GAME NIGHT UNITES FAMILIES.
GAME NIGHT UNITES FAMILIES.
Client: Hasbro Games, division of Hasbro (Pawtucket, RI)
PR Team Fleishman-Hillard (New York)
Campaign: Family game night
Time Frame: February to December 1998
Budget: dollars 110,000
How do parents and kids spend quality time together? The answer was a
crucial piece of information that Hasbro Games researched in order for
its traditional board games to compete against hi-tech CD-ROM games.
Hasbro’s study indicated that both generations enjoy playing board games
and want to play together more often. Hasbro therefore aimed its
subsequent integrated marketing campaign at encouraging families to set
aside one day a week to do so.
The first objective was to dispel the misconception that CD-ROM and
video games meant the demise of traditional board games. Using data from
the parents-kids survey, the team developed messages highlighting the
social interaction that board games provide.
Hasbro’s PR agency, Fleishman-Hillard, considered it critical to
maintain consistency throughout the campaign’s various marketing
efforts. The public relations and advertising efforts mirrored one
another in look and feel to ensure that messages and visuals resonated
To reach family gatekeepers (moms) directly with this information, it
was considered important to get third-party partners who would add
credibility to the program and provide a network for grassroots
outreach. In summer 1998 Fleishman introduced Hasbro to The National
Parenting Center (TNPC).
The center is dedicated to providing parents with guidance from nine of
the world’s most renowned child-rearing authorities.
The PR team also brought in TNPC expert panelist Evelyn Petersen, a
nationally known, award-winning parenting columnist and child and family
A three-pronged campaign - advertising, public relations, promotions -
was devised. Elements included a press kit; radio news release; mat
feature news release; consumer brochure that was distributed via media
and through promotional partners, including Pizza Hut and Kraft; and a
national radio promotion, which aired on 55 stations in the top 50 US
markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington, DC.
A satellite media tour featuring Petersen launched in September 1998.
With 40 years of experience as an early childhood educator, she was a
perfect fit for the program, according to the agency.
The tour was picked up in 12 US markets, including Phoenix, Baltimore
Petersen assisted in the development of a brochure that addressed the
importance of family game play. She also included information about the
project on her web site (www.askevelyn.com), wrote a number of articles
that were distributed through her syndicate, Knight-Ridder, and
participated in print and broadcast interviews.
The TNPC partnership included the design of a banner ad on its web site
(www.tnpc.com), which brought viewers to a ’Family Game Night’ page. The
page spoke to the campaign’s messages and showcased the consumer
brochure available via e-mail, which was hot linked to the page. TNPC
also wrote two articles on Family Game Night in its monthly newsletter,
ParenTalk, which was distributed to its membership base.
During the fourth quarter, following the launch of the advertising and
PR campaigns, sales of Family Game Night games were up at Hasbro’s top
retail customers by 12% over the same time period in 1997. Annual sales
for the games at the top retailers in 1998 were up over 8%.
More than 90% of the media coverage mentioned at least four of the
Rosie O’Donnell featured the project on her show and aired the
commercial - the first time that program aired a TV commercial in an
Through placements via broadcast TV, radio, newspapers, mat newspaper
and radio features and radio promotions, the campaign messages reached
more than 20 million consumers.
’The campaign is now a model for effective integrated marketing at
Hasbro Games,’ says Hasbro PR director Mark Morris.
As Family Game Night becomes better known, the company’s PR efforts will
focus on developing strategic promotions, local market events and other
timely initiatives to build on the momentum already gained by this
Alvin M. Hattal
DIAPERS BOOST PRENATAL CARE.
Client: BabyCal (California Department of Health Services)
PR Team: Hill & Knowlton Social Marketing Team (Los Angeles) Campaign:
’Dribbling for Diapers’
Time Frame: May and June 1999
Budget: about dollars 25,000
BabyCal is a California public awareness effort aimed at combating low
birth weight and decreasing infant mortality. Naturally, delivering its
messages to high-risk women is vital. To achieve this it uses statewide
advertising, special events and corporate sponsorship, in addition to
grassroots support of community-based organizations (CBOs), which
include Planned Parenthood, Positive Youth Development and Sacramento
Recently the state has been working with Hill & Knowlton to build
awareness of the program, which is administered by the Department of
’We were looking for an angle to freshen up the campaign,’ says Eric
Borsum, senior managing director at H&K in LA. ’We wanted to create a
regional media event that would shine a spotlight on the work of
Sacramento CBOs and promote the key messages of BabyCal.’
H&K’s team of statewide CBO consultants researched the needs of
expectant mothers and discovered that the most-requested baby care item
So H&K designed a diaper-donation program and a corresponding media
event called ’Dribbling for Diapers.’
Part of the idea came from the already established partnership between
BabyCal and the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Sacramento
Monarchs. The Monarchs had already been planning on donating proceeds
from an exhibition game to BabyCal. H&K then tapped one of the
campaign’s long-time corporate sponsors, Raley’s and Bel Air, a local
supermarket chain, to match the money raised at the game and to donate
diapers at cost. As a result, more than dollars 10,000 worth of diapers
were donated to local CBOs.
To make a large-scale impact at the game, the PR team used as visuals a
Raley’s and Bel Air 18-wheeler delivery truck and giant pyramids of
diapers - more than 1,200 packages.
On hand for the diaper-donation ceremony were mothers, babies (including
three sets of triplets), CBO people and Raley’s and Bel Air reps, as
well as Monarchs players.
Yolanda Griffith, the team’s leading rebounder and scorer, spoke about
the importance for pregnant women to stay healthy by eating right and
not smoking, for example.
’Yolanda was a great choice as the spokesperson for the team,’ says
’Not only is she the kind of woman that our target audience looks up to
but she is also a mother herself, so her message had even more
Borsum says another media angle included a 60-second shoot-out after the
donation ceremony. Area CBO representatives took part in the shoot-out
by partnering with Monarchs team members. Winners received autographed
basketballs to display at their facilities.
An estimated audience of 2,084,084 was reached through media coverage of
the Dribbling for Diapers event. Seven segments were broadcast on five
Sacramento TV stations, including KXTV (ABC), KCRA (NBC), KOVR (CBS),
KTXL-TV (FOX) and KMAX (UPN). The event also received print coverage in
the Sacramento Bee.
’Thirty percent of women interviewed reported that they started prenatal
care for the first time after hearing or seeing BabyCal campaign
messages and its programs like Dribbling for Diapers,’ Borsum says.
The California Department of Health Services was so impressed with the
positive coverage of the event that it asked H&K to look into conducting
a similar event in Sacramento in 2000.
The organization also contracted with H&K to introduce a program in
Southern California with the Los Angeles Sparks.
POST OFFICE SETS UP PC POSTAGE.
Client: US Postal Service (Washington, DC)
PR Team: Electronic media relations division of News/Broadcast Network
(Washington, DC) Campaign:Lick, Stick and Click PC Postage program
Time Frame: July to August 1999
Budget: about dollars 30,000
The Web is creeping into more areas of everyday life, including the
sacred bond between Americans and the post office. After 70 years, the
U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that we won’t have to trudge down
there to buy stamps anymore. PC Postage is a new technology that allows
such purchases by downloading and printing from the Internet.
It is an innovative idea, but the postal service was faced with the
challenge of reaching the people who use the Internet the most. The USPS
turned to News/Broadcast Network (NBN), a company that provides a range
of broadcast services for the PR industry. NBN helped the USPS create a
multileveled, multimedia tour.
The postal service planned a three-pronged attack: a radio media tour, a
live press conference simulcast on the Internet and a post-conference
package that included B-roll and a web rebroadcast using SMIL
(Synchronized Multimedia Integrated Language) technology, which allows
for on-demand rebroadcast.
NBN targeted message boards and newsgroups that would be responsive to
the business news and technology innovation. The radio tour aimed at the
shows and personalities interested in those same angles. The final stage
of the approach was to set up TV stations for the live feed and B-roll
package. The webcast was announced not just to journalists but to the
general business public as well.
’The webcast expanded the reach of the event,’ says Monica Hand,
spokesperson for the USPS. ’The press event was well attended, but we
wanted to provide that first-hand information to media outside of the DC
area who had expressed interest in this story from the beginning.’
Jeff Wurtz, VP of marketing and sales at NBN, adds that after testing
business groups and media his company ’offered a soft registration and
so created a ready-made direct mail list.’ Business radio outlets that
gave airtime to the event included Bloomberg News Radio, The Wall Street
Journal Radio Network and Fred Fishkin’s Bootcamp on the CBS Radio
The USPS had more than 15 camera crews cover the press conference.
B-roll was broadcast 183 times, reaching an estimated audience of 7.5
million on 88 stations, including KCAL (Los Angeles), WPIV
(Philadelphia), KDAS (Dallas) and KCPX (Seattle-Tacoma). The radio media
tour reached nearly 25 million listeners on eight stations and
The webcast had 1,062 registered participants. The broadcast can be seen
on www.usps.gov and www.newsbroadcastnetwork.com.
’We would definably consider using the webcasting medium again,’ Hand
comments. ’We were interested in providing Internet access from the
beginning, but we weren’t sure how to pull it off. I was delighted to
learn that News/Broadcast Network could make it happen.’
Adds Wurtz: ’The Lick, Stick and Click campaign is a perfect example of
how integrating all three mediums can maximize an audience.’