With the premiere coming up of Made of Honor, Casey Pogan, marketing director at the Town Center; Sue Reninger, managing partner at RMD; and Angela Vallera, AE at RMD were discussing ways they could promote the movie and the Center - a shopping plaza in Perrysburg, OH - and started to think about bridesmaid dresses.
"It started out as a joke - let's collect ugly bridesmaid dresses, but let's do something better than that" Pogan says. They decided to throw a Bridesmaid Ball at the Center and donate dresses to charity.
RMD knew the audience would be mostly female, so it was important to tap into that. So in exchange for the dress, patrons would receive two tickets for the movie.
"Women care... about helping people in their community. Women [also] tend to have a whole lot of bridesmaid dresses," Reninger says. "That's when [we thought] the concept of giving them away to charity might be an interesting tactic We built the whole rational around that."
The team wanted to have fun with the pitch, Vallera says. "[We were able to] talk to them about a fun event, I even joked about bridesmaid dresses with male editors."
The team pitched to the ABC, NBC, and CBS local affiliates, as well as radio stations and blogs. It also pitched to local print outlets and created a Web page on the Center's site. At the ball, Pogan and her team set up a makeshift bridesmaid reception at the restaurant Bar Louis to attract center visitors.
The team collected 24 dresses to donate to the Goodwill at the event, with more dresses arriving after it ended from the media blitz, Pogan says. In addition, 100 movie tickets were distributed and the event garnered 800,000 media impressions and $8,670 in advertising.
RMD and the Town Center still work together, including an event around the release of Hancock where the team asked the community to submit a nominee for who they think is a superhero.
PR team: Town Center at Levis Commons (Perrysburg, OH) and RMD Advertising (Columbus, OH)
Campaign: The Made of Honor premiere event
Duration: April 11-May 2, 2008