AmericaSpeaks is a non-partisan group that works to give Americans a voice in the policymaking process by using hi-tech town-meeting-style forums to connect citizens with politicians.
This past summer, the group set its sights on helping the citizens of California get face time with the policymakers who would be voting on the state's healthcare reform.
With the help of Hill & Knowlton, AmericaSpeaks launched CaliforniaSpeaks, an eight-city "town conference" linked by satellite across the state. "CaliforniaSpeaks brought together a cross section of citizens across our state to give them a direct voice in the healthcare debate," says Hope Boonshaft, GM and EVP of H&K's LA office. The goal was to enlist high-profile spokespeople, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured), to engage the media before the event and generate interest, while also encouraging lawmakers and citizens to take part.
Before the event, H&K says it reached out to "hundreds of journalists and bloggers," and offered prescreened local participants and spokespeople for interviews. H&K staff at all eight sites worked with citizens, media, legislators, and VIP guests. AmericaSpeaks ran two public protests and distributed press releases to reporters and key influencers. After the event, the team touted comprehensive reports, lawmaker reactions, and local participant recommendations to prolong the media attention.
H&K says nearly all of California's leading healthcare lawmakers either publicly commented on or took part in the event, and about 3,500 Californians attended it. The effort generated nearly 45 million impressions across TV, radio, print, and online media.
H&K will continue its work with CaliforniaSpeaks.
PR team: AmericaSpeaks (Washington) and Hill & Knowlton (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Bringing Californians Together with CaliforniaSpeaks
Duration: June-September 2007
Budget: Less than $200,000