CAMPAIGNS: Event Marketing - PR is sole tool for chocolatiers

Client:Event International (New York)

Client:Event International (New York)

Client:Event International (New York)

PR Team: Teuwen One Image (New York)

Campaign: Promotion of The Chocolate Show

Time Frame: June to November 1999

Budget: Under dollars 100,000

Here’s one for the chocolate lovers.

The New York office of French company Event International had hired

Teuwen One Image in 1998 to introduce The Chocolate Show to the US


The company hired the marketing and PR agency again last year to help

promote the second event - a gathering of chocolate makers, sellers and

lovers, not to mention top pastry chefs and authors - held at the

Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan, November 26 to 29.

But Teuwen faced numerous challenges this year. The client was already

spending a considerable amount on organizing the chocolate extravaganza,

and, with the dollar strong against the French franc, the agency opted

against an advertising campaign. The exhibitors were skeptical, however,

about the effectiveness of a pure PR and marketing campaign.

Teuwen, based in New York, also had to reinforce the event as a

consumer-oriented festival rather than a trade show. And, the agency had

some concerns about the timing of the event: over the Thanksgiving



The target of the campaign was not driven purely by media relations;

creating awareness among the public was also a primary objective. Since

the agency had already launched the event the previous year, stage two

involved improving the show to reach new audiences.

In order to get maximum media exposure, Teuwen picked out certain

media-friendly chefs. The agency also encouraged exhibitors to make

their stands interactive with such fads as cooking demonstrations or

chocolate sculptures.

Instead of sending a media advisory, the agency pitched precise segment

ideas to show producers, including a chocolate fashion show. The firm

also kept all parties informed of what coverage was likely to appear



Teuwen sent invitations to the media, printed on thin slices of


The journalists were invited to a chocolate breakfast to film some

presentations in order to promote the event before it started.

The agency also struck a deal with Barnes & Noble, which agreed to give

out brochures offering a dollars 2 discount to the event. The bookstore

allowed the agency to design window displays in key locations to help

promote the show.

Moreover, the agency helped set up a children’s corner to increase

family appeal and gain wider coverage. Tickets to the show and

apprenticeships with celebrity chef Jacques Torres of top New York

restaurant Le Cirque 2000 were also offered as part of a PBS

fund-raising promotion.


A producer from BuenaVista Television saw the Barnes & Noble chocolate

display and inquired about the event, resulting in a filmed segment. The

Chocolate Show is likely to be featured on the Valentine’s Day edition

of new cooking program The Ainsley Harriott Show. The Chocolate Show was

mentioned or covered by 130 TV stations nationwide, compared with 70 the

previous year. CBS’s The Early Show recorded a piece about what your

taste in chocolate says about you. Other outlets covering the event

included CNN Headline News and Fox News. The Wall Street Journal’s

calendar section mentioned the event in a piece about what to do on

Thanksgiving weekend.

The lack of news over the holiday period also worked in favor of the

event. Martha Stewart Living magazine attended, along with food-oriented

titles such as Bon Appetit and Food Arts.

Xuan Trinh, US manager of client Event International, says the show

gained much more television coverage than expected, though overall press

coverage wasn’t quite what they had hoped for. The agency is still

waiting for some articles to appear.


Teuwen will promote the third year of the event in 2000. ’Next year’s

show will include more sponsors, and an advertising campaign is being

considered by the marketing firm to grow the event further,’ says Phil

Ruskin, the agency’s director of marketing.

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