Raise a sunken sub, dominate the media. All PR plays should be this easy, right?
Raise a sunken sub, dominate the media. All PR plays should be this
But the real story behind last week’s raising of the H.L. Hunley, a
Confederate vessel believed to be the first submarine ever to have sunk
an enemy warship, may have been the power of a great press kit.
The CD-ROM kit, which was the centerpiece of Friends of the Hunley’s
media-outreach strategy, featured a VNR boasting an animated simulation
of the raising of the ship. The animated clips - developed by
Oceaneering International engineers at a cost of over $100,000 -
garnered coverage just about everywhere you looked last Tuesday.
The media circus surrounding the raising of the ship was the latest
development in an ongoing campaign launched nearly three years ago when
Friends of the Hunley contracted Advent Media. The Charleston, SC-based
agency, which boasted less than $100,000 in annual billings at the time,
has been receiving $15,000 per month to drum up interest in the
They’ve had plenty of help. Novelist and adventurer Clive Cussler (of
’Dirk Pitt’ fame) threw himself behind the project, eventually
discovering the submarine’s location in 1995. Ted Turner later spent $16
million on a TNT movie about the Hunley, and last year the missing
remains of the ship’s first crew (three crews were lost) were unearthed
in a mariner’s graveyard beneath The Citadel’s football field.
The drama of the raising was played out to the very end. Following a
floating post-recovery press conference, the 69-year-old Cussler leapt
overboard, swam to his nearby vessel and, with martini in hand, waved at
the gaping journalists as he sped away.
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