East Lothian makes key US score

Forbes Life, March 2007

Forbes Life, March 2007

Who is your client and what are its media goals?

Todd Graff: Golf East Lothian is an initiative by Scotland's East Lothian Council Economic Development Division to generate interest in golfing vacations centered on the area's 19 courses, which include famed layouts such as Muirfield and North Berwick. These courses live in the shadow of nearby St. Andrews, so Golf East Lothian wanted to raise its international profile.

What made Forbes Life such a good hit, and how did you pitch columnist Todd Pitock?

Graff: The hard-core golfer knows about the East Lothian courses already, but Forbes Life reaches that upper-income, more casual player who may be looking for an exciting new golf vacation, but isn't familiar with the region. We initially pitched [Pitock] about playing in the World Hickory Open, an East Lothian tournament where all the players use old-fashioned hickory clubs. He couldn't attend, but he did express interest in coming at another time.

Was it a hard sell getting him to go on a golf junket to Scotland?

Graff: No. Todd had been itching to write something about Scottish golf that didn't involve St. Andrews, so he flew over in early September. We decided to play it as soft as we could and not bombard him with messages, although we did arrange for several East Lothian officials to play a few rounds and show him some of the other local activities.

Did you provide him with any other information that helped clinch this placement?

Graff: In addition to the golf, we did help Todd experience the great hotels and restaurants in East Lothian during his five-day trip, as well as a local distillery and a church that was used in The Da Vinci Code movie.

What was the impact of the hit?

Graff: When Todd's story ran in the March issue of Forbes Life, it triggered a significant amount of inquiries from Americans interested in making the trip. Since the piece did a lot to raise its profile in the key US market, our client was really thrilled.

Name: Todd Graff, director, golf division, Conover Tuttle Pace (Boston)

Placement: Forbes Life, March 2007

Pitch timeline: Eight months

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