Samantha Topping: My client is the documentary film company Red Floor Pictures and [its] goal in this case is to drive US media awareness for the launch of Living in Emergency, which chronicles the work of Doctors Without Borders in war-torn regions of Africa. The movie had its worldwide premiere at the Venice Film Festival, but won't debut in the States until the fall.
What made Reuters such a great hit for this film? How did you pitch the editors and reporters there?
Topping: Reuters is the largest, most trusted source of news in the world. I was formerly head of PR for Reuters America and departed this summer to start Topping Media, so when Red Floor's international media firm, UK-based Premier PR, secured the initial interview with Reuters, I quickly stepped in and become the point person.
Did you media train director Mark Hopkins or Chris Brasher, one of the doctors featured, for this interview?
Topping: [Brasher], the doctor, was a natural... because he had spent so much time in front the camera during filming. But for [Hopkins], the director, we did go over top-line messages, which really helped. Premier PR also provided Reuters with film clips for television.
What was the impact of the hit?
Topping: We were able to quickly dovetail the Reuters piece into additional coverage in other US outlets, including The Washington Post and MSNBC. We also engaged in a social media program, which resulted in increased traffic to the Reuters story and drove traffic to both the film's Web site and the Doctors Without Borders site. The film now has great buzz, so the client was thrilled with our work.
Name: Samantha Topping, president of Topping Media (New York)
Placement: Reuters, August 30
Pitch timeline: One week