Last Call: Casino wins PR gamble over 'Survivor II' predictions

With all the publicity-hungry casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Lake Tahoe, what are the chances of any single destination scoring major media coverage for predicting the winner of the next Survivor?

That all depends on your PR team. Luckily for the Sahara Hotel and Casino, quick thinking on the part of its PR firm of record, Kirvin Communications, paid off in spades with a Survivor II tie-in.

David Kirvin first stumbled across an Internet story about the new contestants on the second installment of the TV show on the evening of January 4.

Spotting a good PR opportunity for Sahara, the agency head had, within 18 hours, secured client approval to concoct a pitch surrounding the casino's odds for a Survivor winner, and sent copies of each contestant's bio (posted on the CBS Web site) to the property's bookie.

Once the bookmaker's odds were set and a winner picked, Kirvin's crew drafted a press release and began contacting media within 24 hours. Account manager Stephanie Wilson says all of the entertainment TV shows, such as E! News Daily and Entertainment Tonight, were contacted immediately, as well as the travel and lifestyle publications and wires.

By Monday, January 8, the Associated Press, alongside several newspapers, had run a lengthy story on the Survivor odds that mentioned the Sahara prominently several times.

By Tuesday, several other casinos tried to hop on the Survivor bandwagon.

But by then, the excitement had died down and reporters had moved on to the next big scoop. Guess the losers will have to find another entertainment angle - maybe bets on the 'survival' of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake's love-in?

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