Client: The Technical Museum of Innovation, San Jose, California
PR Team: In-house with support from civic agencies and their PR counsel
Campaign: Opening Events
Timescale: Summer through November 1, 1998
The opening of the $96 million Tech Museum last month put Silicon Valley on the attractions map. The museum first opened in 1970 as 'the Garage' with 6,000 square feet. The new Tech has 132,000 square feet housing four theme galleries with 300 exhibits, an IMAX Dome Theater, an educational center, an upscale cafe and store.
To get maximum media attention for the opening, and to spotlight San Jose's downtown renaissance.
Pre-opening and grand-opening events combined show biz and science to draw media, civic leaders, donors, and the general public to the museum.
The Tech Museum's Media/Community Relations Manager Miguel Salinas, and Public Relations Associate Kris Covarrubias headed the campaign. McNutt & Co. Public Relations of Los Gatos, California, was the primary PR firm, with support from the San Jose C&VB and its PR firm Lou Hammond & Associates and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency and its PR firm Resnicow Schroeder Associates. Both firms are based in New York City.'The Tech is not just a museum story, but also an entertainment, business and hi-tech story,' says Salinas.
In mid-August, the museum began selling advance tickets for IMAX or museum admission via phone and its web site. To publicize this, the Tech invited a star climber from the critically acclaimed film 'Everest' to scale the building's IMAX Dome Theater, which is playing the movie now.
Opening week included a black tie gala, a day for teachers, a media preview day attended by 250 journalists, a members' day and a friends and family preview.
By November's end, the museum had 6,000 members. The PR campaign produced multiple hits in 218 national and international publications and 34 broadcast outlets worldwide. Thanksgiving weekend drew 22,000 visitors and more than 80,000 visited that month. In eight years, the old museum drew more than 700,000 visitors. The new Tech expects 650,000 people each year.
'The Tech is a hit because its opening was significant news for Silicon Valley,' says Salinas.The PR team wished it had photos and slides earlier, he adds, because 'really good visuals sell a really good story.'
ITT engineers a human angle
Client: ITT Industries, Inc.
PR Team: In-house, Ketchum, Doremus Advertising, Landor Associates
Campaign: 'Engineered for Life'
Time Frame: September 17-ongoing
Budget: $10-15 million over three years
ITT Industries emerged in 1995 as an independent global manufacturing company. Formerly a member of the ITT conglomerate along with ITT Corp., a hotel company, and ITT Hartford, an insurance firm, ITT Industries was confronted with a public identity crisis in the wake of its parent company's divestiture.
Specializing in the manufacture of connectors and switches; defense products and services; pumps and complementary products; and specialty products (e.g. valves and switches for industrial applications), ITT Industries boasted a leading-edge product line with little or no brand recognition.
To build worldwide public recognition of ITT Industries as a global engineering and manufacturing company that produces reliable products that make life better for people, communities and nations.
The company saw a pressing need for an all-out brand image campaign targeting employees, customers, investors and the media. A team comprising players from its in-house corporate communications staff, Ketchum, Doremus Advertising and Landor Associates proceeded to apply a human face to the intangible attributes of product reliability and important product uses. Starting in 1998, ITT has committed a budget of $10-$15 million over a three-year period to the repositioning effort, which will end in 2000.
At the outset of the campaign, ITT Industries commissioned Yankelovich and Landor Associates to conduct research among members of the financial community.
'While ITT was well-known, ITT Industries was not well-understood,' explains Thomas Martin, ITT Industries vice president and director of corporate communications. 'Most people associated us with hotels, casinos and phone equipment.'
Work on the campaign was progressing smoothly, but the team hit a snag when Hilton initiated a hostile takeover of ITT Corp.'s hotel empire, Martin says. It would have been foolish to clarify the ITT Industries brand while another company spawned by the same corporate divestiture was engaged in a media tug-of-war. Once Starwood took over the hotel business in February, however, the new identity campaign resumed.
The public campaign was officially launched on September 17 when chairman, president and chief executive Travis Engen, flanked by eight engineers, rang the opening trading bell from the balcony above the New York Stock Exchange. The company announced the three elements of its new brand: name, corporate symbol and tagline, 'Engineered for life.' To further humanize its products, the company set up a night-vision tent on the street adjacent to the Stock Exchange. The public could touch and feel products critical to the work of such diverse entities as the military and search-and-rescue operations.
While print ads with employee testimonials played up the human angle, the corporate TV spot featured another species: fish. Swimming to the accompaniment of Handel's Hallelujah chorus, an array of fish appealed to the average consumer. Until the campaign launch this audience probably had no idea that ITT Industries' durable pumps helped communities clean up their water.
Initial results demonstrate that putting a human spin on a family of esoteric products can produce placements in mainstream media. Coverage appeared in The Wall Street Journal prior to the launch, and CNBC featured an interview with Engen. Regional mainstream TV played up the employee angle as engineers took turns sharing the screen with Engen.
While it's too early to assess the impact on sales, ITT Industries has gained a four-to five-fold increase in web site traffic, Martin notes.
The campaign will continue to roll out through the year 2000. An identity manual is currently in production, and another survey will reveal the impact of the campaign among target audiences.
Up against the big hitters
PR Teams: Galvin Kemper Inc., Cincinnati, for The Broadway Commons stadium; HMS Partners, Columbus, Ohio, for the Riverfront Stadium
Campaign: Convincing voters where to build new baseball stadium
Time Frame: Leading up to November 3 election
Budget: Less than $1 million for the two sides
Although a grassroots campaign to build a new sports stadium for the Cincinnati Reds began as much as seven years ago, the real hard-hitting effort was launched as late as mid-September. All agreed that a new site needed to be found for the baseball team.
Councilman Jim Tarbell headed a group favoring a new stadium on a 20-acre site on the northeast side of downtown called Broadway Commons, near a historic neighborhood, Over the Rhine. Their opponents pushed for a riverfront site near the current stadium.
The Commons group mounted a grassroots campaign, which gained enough signatures to get the proposal on the ballot during the '98 elections.
The active grassroots campaign was at its peak in the fall of 1994, the year the World Series was canceled. The group decided to hold a 'World Serious' - a mock baseball game with a baseball memorabilia booth, horse and carriage rides, and films of Reds in earlier World Series games. Using 700 gallons of green paint, they painted a field on the parking lot to represent the Broadway Commons grounds. This feat was reported in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Cleveland Plain Dealer, wire services, a newspaper in Germany and more than 200 radio stations.
A similar 'World Serious' was held in 1996 to keep up the momentum. The same year, a facade of what the entrance to the stadium would look like at Broadway Commons was erected. 'We needed to create an image to break through the (opposition's) myths,' said Councilman Tarbell. A two-dimensional piece, the nostalgic facade was patterned after the Reds' ballpark, built at the turn of the century.
Besides press attention, the momentum among the public grew. 'Broadway Commons' signs went up in neighborhoods throughout the area, resulting in the largest yard sign campaign in the city's history.
In September, a professional advertising agency, Galvin Kemper, developed a strategy based on the theme, 'Broadway is Better'. Finally the Commons advocates ran a TV commercial showing that businesses were behind the riverfront stadium. In a series of press conferences, the Broadway Commons proposal was stated in more positive terms.
The opposing camp started its campaign late and was far behind in the public opinion polls. But in a strategy developed by HMS Partners, the River Front proponents produced slick, computer-generated images of their dream stadium.
The hard-hitting ads of the Riverfront proponents were accompanied by a series of news events and presentations to the press. These resulted in endorsements from both major city newspapers, the African-American newspaper and the local business newspaper, the Chamber of Commerce and the hotel-motel association.
From being eight points down in the polls, according to real estate developer John Schneider, the River Front group won with a two-to-one margin in the November 3 vote.
The grassroots efforts eventually just struck out. A veteran of political campaigns, Jerry Galvin believes, 'When you're beaten two votes to one, you realize that advertising wasn't the issue. People wanted the stadium on the river front.'
Escape from LA image crisis
Client: New LA Marketing Partnership
PR Team: Casey & Sayre, Inc.
Campaign: Advertising-PR: 'Together We're the Best, Los Angeles'
Timescale: November 1994-March 1999
Budget: $14 million, advertising; $3 million, PR
The nation's second largest city was a basket case eight years ago.
The depressed economy, fallen real estate values, riots and crime in the early '90s had scared off prospective businesses and residents alike.
From nearly 25 million overnight visitors who spent more than $8-billion in 1990, tourism had dropped to 20 million visitors by 1992.
In response, a group of leaders from LA's public and private sectors joined forces to fund a five-year advertising and public relations campaign under a group called the New Los Angeles Marketing Partnership (NLAMP).
A draft op-ed says, 'It was an unprecedented coalition in a region described by H.L. Mencken in 1925 as '19 suburbs in search of a metropolis."
To restore the area's image, regain its position as an economic powerhouse and promote it as a good place to live, visit, work and do business. Beyond that, to reach out to other key domestic and international markets, especially Thailand and China.
The campaign focused the promotional efforts of the city's major players.
Atlantic Richfield, Bank of America, First Interstate Bank, Edison and a few others each contributed to the initial ad campaign. United Airlines, Fox and Times Mirror, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, soon joined in, each promising to kick in $500,000 during the five-year drive. The LA Convention and Visitors Bureau also chipped in. In all, more than 120 area businesses committed themselves to the five-year campaign, which was also backed by the City and County of Los Angeles.
A three-prong approach featured a broad advertising campaign, intensive media relations follow-up and face-to-face meetings with decision-makers among the area's 12 industry clusters. These sectors include business and health services, biomedical services, tourism, international trade, motion picture and television production, and technology. By issuing consistent, fact-based information, rather than the expected 'boosterism', NLAMP overcame initial media scepticism.
NLAMP claims a share of the credit for creating some 27,000 new businesses, 232,000 new jobs and a rebirth of urban prosperity. Real estate values have soared. Visits have been climbing steadily, reaching 23.6 million in 1997 and stepping up the pace this year. Los Angeles is home to more than 30 Fortune 500 companies, as well as a growing number of small and medium-size businesses. The city has recently become the fast-developing center of the multimedia industry, a trend capped in late November by the deal for DreamWorks SKG to build its huge complex in Playa Vista.
'It was a good investment,' says NLAMP Executive Director Regina Birdsell, 'because of the widespread bounce we got. We let the business world know LA was no longer taking its status as a global icon for granted.' A recent poll indicates optimism is rising among LA residents: 72% say the next generation will be better off, compared to 52% in 1995. One-time skeptic Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas says the program was 'precisely what was needed at one of the low points in the city's history ... We had to market ourselves.' The final stage ad campaign will end in April.