Swarovski star gets wide appeal while giving back

Upholding a three-year holiday tradition, the Swarovski star once again appeared as the crowning ornament of the 2006 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

PR team: Swarovski (Cranston, RI) and Marina Maher Communications (New York)
Campaign: Swarovski Star
Duration: November 8 to 15, 2006
Budget: $750,000 (including a $200,000 donation from Swarovski)

Upholding a three-year holiday tradition, the Swarovski star once again appeared as the crowning ornament of the 2006 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

Although Swarovski tries to make each annual delivery of the star to Rockefeller Center unique, it found itself seeking additional ways to elevate the brand as the "star of the holiday season" beyond the initial impartment, and so enlisted the help of Marina Maher Communications (MMC).

Strategy
Knowing the tree's arrival would overshadow Swarovski's publicity, the firm arranged the star's delivery for the day before. With Rockefeller Center being a well-known NBC hub, some coverage was guaranteed, but MMC also wanted to appeal to other networks and mediums. "As the Swarovski star doesn't change from year to year, we have to come up with creative and new ways to promote it," says Melissa Carden, PR and advertising manager for Swarovski. 
 
Tactics
Along with the debut events and advance publicity from celebrity spokeswoman Maria Menounos, Swarovski added an eBay auction of celebrity-designed mini-stars, with proceeds going to the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation. With many of the stars coming from celebrities appearing on networks other than NBC, the firm was able to send out specifically tailored pitches to the different networks on the spot, even providing b-roll.
 
Results
More than 200 stories hit TVs across the country, while the celebrity auctions raised $11,000 for charity and provided new hooks for media outlets. "We were able to create something in a heavy news environment and craft stories that made sense for all of the network affiliates across the country," says Suzanne Haber, group SVP for media at MMC.
 
Future
Swarovski intends to build upon the current model for Christmas 2007.

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