PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: 7-Eleven makes a good publicity call

DALLAS: 7-Eleven pulled out all its PR artillery to promote a

Memorial Day phone card giveaway to veterans, hitting the bull's-eye for

a patriotic PR Play of the Week.

Through its "Calling America's Heroes" campaign, 7-Eleven brought

together AT&T, the White House Commission on the National Moment of

Remembrance and numerous veterans organizations in an educational

campaign to urge Americans to pause for a minute at 3pm on Memorial Day.

To reach out and touch veterans, AT&T donated more than half a million

15-minute, prepaid phone cards worth some dollars 2 million.

7-Eleven employees distributed cards to the first 100 veterans,

servicepeople and military family members who visited each of some 5,600

stores on Memorial Day.

The convenience store chain fired almost every PR cannon known to man.

Among tasks performed by Hill & Knowlton's Washington office (the

recently acquired Pro-Marc Agency) were helping 7-Eleven's in-house PR

team set up SMTs with astronaut and veteran Buzz Aldrin and conduct

radio media tours; host a Capitol press conference with Sen. Charles

Hagel, who helped create the National Moment of Remembrance; produce a

VNR featuring 7-Eleven CEO James Keyes, a Vietnam vet and the mother of

a serviceman killed in the Gulf War; and arrange for Keyes to mention

the campaign during a CNBC Power Lunch appearance.

The 7-Eleven national network of independent PR consultants also

prepared local stores for news-starved TV crews on Monday morning.

No media measurements were available by press time, but 7-Eleven's

communications manager Dana Manley said early indications looked good.

Aldrin did some 20 SMT interviews, and at least 12 stations picked up

the VNR during newscasts the Friday before the holiday.

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