The Almaden Valley Athletic Club (AVAC) last summer partnered with the Pat Tillman Foundation for a "Celebration Under the Stars" fundraising initiative.
AVAC enlisted MSR Communications to create awareness about the event, which featured a silent auction, dinner, and dancing in honor of Tillman, a former NFL linebacker and AVAC member who gave up his football career - and his life - serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan.
MSR account coordinator Jennifer Campbell says the firm was charged with drawing attention to the July 30 event, promoting AVAC's community-centric nature, and both honoring former Arizona Cardinal Tillman and raising money to bring the Phoenix-based foundation's "Leadership Through Action" youth skill-building program to the Bay Area.
Outreach targeted local feature, sports, lifestyle, and health reporters, as well as calendar editors and TV and radio producers. MSR created a variety of messages to attract Bay Area students and families, tying the event to Tillman by featuring some of his favorite things. For example, "Celebration Under the Stars" featured live music by the Joe Sharino Band, a local group that had performed at Tillman's wedding. At the event, MSR coordinated photos and interviews.
The effort generated pre- and post-event media hits across the Bay Area, Campbell says, including features in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News. KNBR-AM 680 and NBC affiliate KNTV-TV ran live interviews with foundation executive director Alex Garwood and AVAC owner Joe Shank. The coverage drew more than 700 people to the event, which raised $20,000 for the foundation.
Campbell says she expects MSR to have an "ongoing relationship" with the Tillman Foundation as it expands across the Bay Area.
Campaign: Celebration Under the Stars
Duration: June to August 2005
PR team: Almaden Valley Athletic Club (San Jose, CA) and MSR Communications (San Francisco)