Associated Press, December 12
Who is your client, and what are its media goals?
Stacey Bender: Manischewitz Brands is a kosher food company that is part of RAB Foods. It was looking to get newspaper coverage to spread the word that kosher food can appeal to a wider market than only those keeping kosher.
Wire services can be a challenge to pitch. How did you reach out to the Associated Press for this story?
Bender: We knew a good AP story would get picked up by papers across the country and give the Manischewitz brand a real boost. We had pitched the Jewish cuisine story to food editors with great success, but for this story, we targeted the AP bureau in Newark, NJ, which is the company's hometown.
The ethnic food story has been around for several years, including Manischewitz's role in the rise of high-end Jewish cuisine. Was it a challenge to find new angles?
Bender: What really helped us was pitching Newark AP writer Janet Frankston Lorin, instead of AP's New York headquarters. Even though this was pegged to a national cooking contest the company was running, Lorin also loved the story on the important role Manischewitz is playing in the local Newark economy.
Did you have to media train the Manischewitz executives before they spoke with Lorin?
Bender: Yes, we sat down with last year's contest winners, Manischewitz executives, and the company's chief rabbi, Yaakov Horowitz, to go over key communication points before they spoke to Lorin. We also arranged for her to tour the company's Newark matzo plant.
What was the impact of the hit?
Bender: The story hit the wires December 12 and immediately triggered a surge both in people who wanted to enter this year's contest, as well as in calls to Manischewitz from general consumers. It also led to calls from other media outlets, including CNBC, which followed up with their own profiles of the company.
Name: Stacey Bender, president, Bender-Hammerling Group (Upper Montclair, NJ)
Placement: Associated Press, December 12
Pitch timeline: Three months