Who is your client and what are its media goals?
John Williams: Targeted Growth is a Seattle-based bioscience company that uses genetic technology and agricultural breeding techniques to develop and optimize crops for use in biofuels. [Its] media goals are to drive awareness and generate excitement about [its] work and the emerging biofuel industry.
What made the AP such a good target for them, and how did you pitch its reporter?
Williams: The AP has great international reach, so [it is] always going to be one of our targets. We were working with Targeted Growth to set up a press conference in Helena, MT, featuring the governor and both its US senators, to unveil a new version of camelina, the US' first dedicated biofuel crop. In this case, the reporter at AP's Helena bureau learned some of the details of the announcement and wanted to know more. We decided to offer him the release and all the background information in advance if he agreed to embargo the story until the press event.
Biofuel is a fairly new industry. Did you have to provide a lot of background information to the reporter, and what other materials did you provide to help clinch the placement?
Williams: He had a good grasp of the state's agriculture industry and understood how the introduction of a new crop would benefit Montana farmers. But I did spend time with him to brief him on camelina and what made this new seed version so promising. We also provided him high-resolution pictures of the seed and of a camelina field growing in Montana.
What was the impact of the hit?
Williams: The press conference was a huge local success, but the AP story turned it into a national and international story that was picked up by business, agricultural, and environmental publications. Since it positioned Targeted Growth at the forefront in the effort to come up with better crops for biofuels, the company executives were thrilled.
Name: John Williams, president, Scoville Public Relations (Seattle)
Placement: AP, November 20, 2007
Timeline: One day