The International Civil Rights Center & Museum tapped RLF Communications to help promote its grand opening and the 50th anniversary of the historic event in which four black students from North Carolina A&T State University sat in at a "whites-only" counter in a Woolworth's store. The team wanted the museum, placed at the landmark, to be seen nationally.
With $212,000, the team set core strategies: to develop and tell a story tied to the Greensboro, NC, incident; highlight the museum's cofounders who saved the building from destruction in 1993; and secure commitments from key influencers and thought leaders in the African-American community, such as Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The team established joint activities with the school, the city of Greensboro, and various local groups to extend its pre-event reach and deal with logistics.
Tactics included an emotional public service announcement and promotion via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the museum's website. The team conducted media tours and reached out to more than 600 journalists around the country; secured outdoor, print, and broadcast PSA placements; and removed the snow that prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency 24 hours before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The event drew 3,000 spectators; more than 200 members of various media; 500 VIPs; and elected federal and state officials - far exceeding the museum's objectives of attracting between 2,000 and 2,500 diverse attendees to the ceremony.
With 192 million media impressions and 700 broadcast stories nationally, coverage included ABC World News and CBS Evening News, as well as a USA Today cover, among others. The museum's Facebook fan page attracted more than 11,000 fans in the six weeks before and immediately after the opening.
One judge noted, "A tough market, bad weather, and low-profile VIPs were all overcome with tremendous results. The issue is a good one, but there wasn't much more going for this event, yet they hit it out of the park."
Honorable Mention: Fleishman-Hillard St. Louis and Boy Scouts of America: From Our Nation's Capital to the World: Culminating in the BSA's 100th Anniversary
For its 100th anniversary, the Boy Scouts of America, with Fleishman-Hillard, enhanced the organization's 2010 National Scout Jamboree event. After three years of planning, it held a centennial parade and interactive scavenger hunt in Washington, DC; managed an experiential tour at the National Mall; and simulcast the main event to celebrations nationwide. Teamed with the US Postal Service and sponsor AT&T, the effort drew Fox coverage, 10,000-plus parade marchers, 25,171 views of the live event on BYUtv, and 99,000 Ustream hits during the event.
The Award Honors the most effective, attention-grabbing promotional event of the year.
Fleishman-Hillard St. Louis and Boy Scouts of America: From Our Nation's Capital to the World: Culminating in the BSA's 100th Anniversary
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RLF Communications and International Civil Rights Center & Museum: Historic Opening Reignites Interest in Civil Rights