American Airlines lands 'WSJ' piece

Placement: The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 20006

Placement: The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 20006

What were your client's media goals? Courtney Wallace: Our client, American Airlines, wanted to raise the profile of its system operations center, as well as educate customers on how decisions on cancellations are made when there's bad weather. Because The Wall Street Journal is so important to business travelers, we wanted to place the story there to get maximum impact.

How did you pitch the editors and reporters there? Wallace: We deal with Melanie Trottman - who covers aviation for the paper - on a daily basis, so she was the logical person to pitch. What got her interested was the access into systems operations we were willing to provide.

What was the biggest challenge in getting this story placed? Wallace: Coordinating everybody's schedule. Melanie talked to about five people in person, and we also let her listen in on a weather conference call so she could report how decisions are made. Though we didn't do formal media training, we did also counsel the employees on what they could say and remind them to speak so their grandmother would understand what they did for a living.

The Wall Street Journal eventually decided the early February blizzard in New York would be a great news hook for this piece. Did that create any added problems? Wallace: No, Melanie called us that weekend, and our internal client, John Hotard, was able to connect her with the manager on duty and then get one of our photographers out to get his picture for the story.

What was the impact of the hit? Wallace: The story ran in the front page of the Journal's Marketplace section and was picked up by Dow Jones and ran in other newspapers around the country, generating a total of 5.5 million media impressions. It also led to calls from Dallas-area TV stations, which later did similar stories.

Name: Courtney Wallace, account supervisor, Weber Shandwick (Irving, TX)

Placement: The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 20006

Pitch timeline: One month

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