International awareness piqued for The Polo Life

Elliott Stares Public Relations helped create a campaign to generate worldwide media coverage around The Polo Life's sand polo event.

Client: The Polo Life (Miami Beach, FL)
Agency: Elliott Stares Public Relations (Miami Beach, FL)
Campaign: 2011 AMG Miami Beach Polo World Cup presented by Nespresso
Duration: February 21 - May 2
Budget: $10,000

The Polo Life began producing a sand polo event in Miami Beach seven years ago. Elliott Stares Public Relations helped create a campaign to generate worldwide media coverage around this year's event (April 21-24).

“We've been the leading event, but we wanted to take it from being a local or regional event to being an international event,” explains Lacey Abbott, director of The Polo Life. “We needed national and international attention so we could grow.”

Strategy
Agency president Elliott Stares capitalized on the tournament's “spectacular and unique” elements and leveraged high-profile players, including John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted, to drive coverage. He also wanted to diminish polo's “elitist stigma” and make it more accessible to mainstream audiences and general sports enthusiasts.

Additional events and social media outreach helped raise awareness of the tournament and its sponsors.

Tactics
Journalists covering business, sports, entertainment, social events, and celebrity news for local, regional, national, and international outlets were targeted. Angles pitched included the tournament's heritage, business success and expansion, and player and lifestyle profiles.

Stares conceived a “Battle of the Networks” polo tournament in Palm Beach on April 16 in which six TV anchors from local Fox and CBS stations competed. Each station ran five-minute segments. The anchors were driven to the tournament in cars provided by sponsor AMG-Mercedes and received coffee makers from sponsor Nespresso.

A press briefing kicked off the main tournament on April 21. The Polo Life founder Bruce Orosz, Walsh, and other players spoke and gave interviews. A fashion show of Walsh's daughter's clothing line was held that night.

Other events included an April 22 VIP dinner and fashion show of sponsor La Martina's clothing and an April 23 auction and concert featuring a local reggae band. Journalists attended both. Concert ticket sales and auction proceeds benefited nonprofits, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, of which Walsh is a cofounder.

Information, scores, and videos were posted daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Results
Abbott reports VIP ticket sales more than tripled compared to any previous year.

More than 400 media hits were garnered in outlets including International Herald Tribune, Reuters, VH-1, 60 Minutes, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and China Daily.

Abbott notes the value of 2012 sponsorships increased significantly given this year's media coverage.

Future
The team is promoting the first Chicago Beach Polo World Cup (September 30 – October 2). The “Battle of the Networks” will likely become an annual event in Miami.

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