Client: Children's Hospital (Los Angeles)
PR Team: In-house and Tellem Worldwide (Malibu, CA)
Campaign: Celebrity golf tournament
Time Frame: August 2000
Budget: dollars 5,000 plus dollars 5,700 pro bono
Celebrity golf tournaments to raise funds for charity are common in LA.
Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children's Hospital
hired Tellem Worldwide to help get media coverage of their celebrity
golf event, which raises money for pediatric eye cancer.
Children's Hospital wanted as much press as possible during and after
the event to create awareness about the hospital and generate goodwill
among players. The hospital wanted to avoid pre-event PR because the
event was closed to the public.
At the outset, the greatest challenge was time, says Susan Tellem,
president & CEO of Tellem Worldwide. The hospital had mentioned the
event to the firm a couple of months prior to the tournament, but did
not call the agency to get started on the project until July 13. The
tournament was held August 7.
The story of a celebrity golf tournament is a fluff piece, despite the
good cause of pediatric eye cancer, notes Tellem. 'In LA they're a dime
a dozen,' she says. But, as luck would have it, the event was held the
same day that the California State Senate passed Assembly Bill 2185, The
Newborn Eye Screening Program, which will improve detection of eye
cancer and congenital eye diseases. This gave Tellem a solid news angle
for the media 'to sink its teeth into,' which helped distinguish the
event from other celebrity fundraisers.
To increase publicity, reporters from People, KABC and Mundo LA, a
Spanish entertainment publication, were invited to play in the
Local newspapers and healthcare reporters were provided with information
on eye disease and the event. The firm ensured the legislation hook was
in all of their press materials and included it in their phone
To gain entertainment media coverage, the PR team invited staff from
Variety, Soap Opera Digest, People and Entertainment Weekly to attend
the event. The invitations listed the stars scheduled to participate -
David Leisure, James Woods, Edward James Olmos, Richard Roundtree and
An event photographer took photos that were sent out to publications as
Many of the celebrities listed on the invitation didn't show up on the
morning of the event. 'At first we expected them to show, so when media
signed in we told them that these stars were playing and had not shown
up yet,' says Tellem. 'By the time we found out that they were not
coming, the media were committed to bringing back a story, so they
Celebrities that did show up included Richard Karns of Home Improvement,
Paul Gleason of Trading Places and Die Hard, Eddie Cibrian of Third
Watch, Hunter Tylo of The Bold and the Beautiful and actors from soap
operas such as General Hospital, Port Charles and Days of Our Lives.
David Leisure was the only actor listed on the invitation that
Local affiliate KABC ran a story. Additionally, two local TV stations,
KTLA and KCAL, attended and broadcast stories. The Los Angeles Daily
News, the Burbank Times and the Tolucan Times covered the event. Mundo
LA also ran a story with photos.
'In 1999, the first year the tournament was produced, our net proceeds
were dollars 40,000,' says Chapman. 'In 2000, our net proceeds were
According to Chapman, next year's promotion will probably be handled
in-house as the hospital expects to increase its communications staff.