CAMPAIGNS: Fundraising - Golf event covered despite no-shows

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

Betty Thomas.

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

dollars 126,500.'


According to Chapman, next year's promotion will probably be handled

in-house as the hospital expects to increase its communications staff.

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