Client: Central New York Regional Compact (Syracuse, NY)
PR Team: MRA (Syracuse, NY)
Campaign: "What Not to Pack When Moving to the Syracuse Region"
Time Frame: March 8, 2001
Budget: dollars 3,750
After the Central New York Regional Compact received a grant from state
Sen. John DeFrancisco to launch a campaign to attract attention and
entice businesses to relocate to the Syracuse area, it turned to its PR
agency, MRA, for ideas.
Established a couple of years ago by the Greater Syracuse Chamber of
Commerce, the Compact focuses on promoting economic prosperity and
maintaining a high quality of life in Cayuga, Cortland, Oneida, Madison,
Onondaga and Oswego counties.
What better way to publicize the small-town virtues of the up-and-coming
Upstate New York region than to vilify the ugly, everyday realities of
life in the big city? That was the reasoning behind a guerrilla
"The campaign was designed to get persuasive information in front of the
target audience," says Marti Bledsoe, the MRA account executive heading
the account. "It was also intended to generate media coverage, which
could be merchandised back in Syracuse to foster pride in the innovative
way the region is marketing itself locally and outside the area."
Account representatives at the Syracuse-based PR agency came up with a
novel idea: a checklist-style flyer that looked like a moving list,
detailing what a person would need to leave behind when relocating to
"The lists detailed items you no longer need when you move to the
Syracuse area, like ear-plugs (sirens won't keep you up all night) and a
headhunter (good companies will be beating down your door)," says
Now all they needed was a venue to distribute it. Enter the NCAA Big
East Men's Basketball Tournament. The event, held annually at Madison
Square Garden in midtown Manhattan, draws thousands of visitors from
cities up and down the eastern seaboard. MRA representatives realized
that this popular event would provide its client with the venue it
needed to pass out its cleverly presented information.
"Only the client thought the Big East Tournament had already passed,"
says Bledsoe. Once informed that, in fact, the event's tip-off was
actually still days away on March 8, Compact officials agreed to launch
the campaign on March 2.
Flyers were distributed at subway stops and other locations outside the
MRA also mounted an e-mail effort to notify media outlets in Syracuse
and New York about the campaign. In addition to the humorous content,
the flyer included the Web addresses of three job recruitment sites as
well as a general Syracuse-related site.
More than 7,500 "unpacking lists" were distributed. On the media front,
the e-mail campaign drew limited attention - although a front-page
article with a full-color photo ran in the following day's issue of the
Syracuse Post-Standard. The article enabled Compact leaders to raise the
profile of their efforts and discuss future initiatives.
Compact officials are huddling with MRA folks to devise similar
guerrilla tactics. Media relations efforts for the region will continue
through June 2001.