Who is your client, and what are their media goals?
Michael Olguin: The Las Vegas BikeFest is the fastest growing Harley-style motorcycle event in the Western US. The show's organizers were looking for national exposure to raise the profile of the event as well as regional coverage in key West Coast markets that are within driving distance of Las Vegas in an effort to boost future attendance.
What made The Tonight Show such a good hit for them? How did you pitch the producers?
Olguin: The Tonight Show obviously has a huge reach, and we knew Jay Leno is a big car and motorcycle enthusiast, which made it an ideal target. We pitched the producers in August, and followed up by sending them b-roll of last year's BikeFest so they could get the flavor of the event. Initially we were hoping Jay would agree to come, but the producers decided to send The Tonight Show's 87-year-old baking correspondent, Marjorie Johnson, for a two-day shoot.
You knew The Tonight Show segment would likely be quirky and comedic. Were organizers comfortable with that angle?
Olguin: The organizers were very game because they realized it would make Las Vegas BikeFest seem both fun and approachable.
How did you handle the logistics of having Johnson on the show floor with a camera crew for several days?
Olguin: We wanted it to be as authentic as possible, so we just let Marjorie go around and give out cookies and talk to the attendees. We didn't do any media training save for making sure she mentioned the name of the event several times during her segment.
What was the impact of the hit?
Olguin: The Tonight Show's presence gave the event a huge boost in excitement, creating a buzz among all BikeFest attendees. The seven-minute segment was seen by more than 5.5 million Tonight Show viewers and so the organizers were ecstatic with our work.
Name: Michael Olguin, president, Formula PR (San Diego)
Placement: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, October 4, 2007
Pitch timeline: Six weeks