CAMPAIGNS: Media Relations - Media enticed by inviting opening

The opening of a local business doesn't always catch the media's imagination, unfortunate given that a bit of play in the local newspaper can be just the boost a new venture needs. But when Nicole Wood decided to expand beyond her five-year-old high-end cosmetic line and open a boutique and day spa in a small New Jersey town, she knew she'd need to get some attention if things were going to take off.

Strategy

"There's nothing here that's really close to this concept, says Wood of her store, which is attached to another unique venture: a hair salon/art gallery called the Bauhaus Gallery. "It's a very different, fun store - it's girly meets antique, Wood says of The Beauty Lounge. "A lot of the decor came from my house, and from my mother and my grandmother, so you feel like you're walking into someone's living room."

Unique as a pair of local businesses may be, however, it's usually not enough to draw media attention. However, sometimes the best way of attracting the media's eye is the simplest, most obvious one: In addition to being an entrepreneur, Wood also happens to be a former Playboy Playmate of the Month. Leveraging her own fame - as well as that of many of her friends - would be central to putting the spotlight on her store, contends Trevor Shaw of The Garfield Group, Wood's publicist.

Tactics

Wood and Shaw decided that a good way to get people interested in The Beauty Lounge was to do one of the things that Playmates are known to do best: party.

"We thought about how best to approach the media, and I developed a media alert and press release, says Shaw, who also added several media outlets to the guest list.

"We sent out over 1,000 invites, says Wood, and over 400 guests attended, including fellow Playboy X-Treme Team member and Playmate Danelle Folta, Playmate Remy Marks, not to mention several representatives from Playboy marketing, and actor Vincent Pastore, who played Big Pussy on HBO's The Sopranos.

And like any other party having to do with Playboy, "people just didn't want to leave, says Shaw.

Results

Several local publications covered the party, such as the South Jersey Courier-Post, South Jersey magazine (on which Wood will grace the cover), and the Haddon Herald. Also in attendance was Philadelphia's NBC affiliate, which covered the event. Playboy magazine also ran a story in its Playmate News section.

More importantly, since the party, Wood claims that business has grown steadily. The spa's location hasn't hurt either: "We're getting a lot of walk-ins because we're in the center of a cute, quaint little town."

Future

Wood claims to have other promotional plans in the works, and will host E! Entertainment's Wild On Philadelphia, which will air toward the end of the summer.

Client: The Beauty Lounge (Westmont, NJ)
PR Team: The Garfield Group (Newtown, PA)
Campaign: The Beauty Lounge and Bauhaus Gallery grand opening
Time Frame: April 13, 2002
Budget: About $2,000

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