CAMPAIGNS: Non-profit PR - Taming Tiger's media circus

Client: Tiger Woods Foundation (Los Alamitos, CA)

Client: Tiger Woods Foundation (Los Alamitos, CA)

Client: Tiger Woods Foundation (Los Alamitos, CA)

PR Team: Burson-Marsteller (Chicago) and Barnhart/CMI (Denver)

Campaign: Tiger Woods Foundation Weekend

Time Frame: April-June 4, 2000

Budget: dollars 1,500

When the world's most celebrated golfer asks you to publicize his foundation's local efforts on behalf of children, it's a chance for a public relations hole-in-one.

Dawn Doty of Burson-Marsteller, national PR coordinator for the Tiger Woods Foundation, enlisted Barnhart/CMI to promote a weekend-long youth golf clinic in Denver. The PR challenge was to keep straight which of the events would be open to the public while delivering the message of Tiger Woods, philanthropist and humanitarian - not the story of Tiger Woods, international golfing superstar.


The foundation's goal is to empower children to reach their highest potential through golf. Tiger personally conducts five-part clinics engaging kids, parents and communities while conveying the values that helped him to succeed.

All PR work done for the foundation is pro bono. Burson enlists established PR firms with deep local media relationships to publicize projects. This also helps to spread out the pro-bono workload.

The Denver events included a lesson with Tiger and minority golf pros for 125 underprivileged youth; a demonstration and discussion hosted by Tiger; workshops aimed at families; a fund-raising auction; and a discussion titled 'Caring and Sharing' hosted by Tiger's father and Foundation president, Earl Woods.

The workshops, auction and 'Caring and Sharing' were open to the public, while other events were by invitation only. It was critical to convey various degrees of access to Woods. The team had to deliver clear messages to ensure that thousands of kids didn't show up, golf bags on their shoulders, expecting a private lesson with Tiger and that sports reporters didn't pepper the star with questions about his latest tournament victory.


The agency identified lifestyle, sports and news editors and reporters throughout Colorado. Emphasis was placed on contacting minority media outlets and lifestyle editors - the agency expected they would be more likely to pick up the humanitarian aspect of the story and steer clear of the sports angle.

'We actually sat down and made a chart, envisioning a story in these sections,' says Barnhart's Ginger Mattson. 'We identified the individuals at the publications that worked on those sections.'

Reporters were called directly, and a press kit was sent out a month prior to the activities. Follow-up calls ensured that reporters were clear on schedules and events.

For the weekend itself, Barnhart enlisted additional volunteers to help pass out media credentials, oversee parking, provide security and assure that radio and print interviews with Tiger, his father, youth participants and clinic directors were handled between scheduled events.

Because of Tiger's busy schedule, the public relations team decided that only one television reporter - Adele Arakawa of NBC-affiliate KUSA, the top-rated station in Denver - got an exclusive interview. To keep from alienating other TV reporters, media assistants arranged interviews with carefully selected and articulate children participating in the clinics, the minority golf pros, clinic organizers and Tiger's father.


More than 150 media representatives attended the weekend's events. All local TV stations carried the story, and both Denver dailies - the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post - ran front-page photos and articles. An estimated 72 million gross impressions were calculated, for a media advertising equivalent of more than dollars 1 million.


Burson will continue to spread the foundation's message.

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