'Despierta America' segment translates into a boost for McDonald's HACER program

Who is your client and what are its media objectives?

Name: John Echeveste, partner, VPE Public Relations
Placement Despierta America, December 30, 2009
Pitch timeline: Three weeks Who is your client and what are its media objectives?

Echeveste: We have been the Hispanic PR firm for McDonald's US communications since 1992. For this particular initiative, we sought to generate Spanish-language media coverage for the Ronald McDonald House Charities HACER scholarship program (RMHC/HACER) for Hispanic high school students considering college.

Another goal of ours was to highlight McDonald's continuing involvement with the US Hispanic community.

What made Despierta America such a great target for this campaign? How did you pitch the producers and reporters there?

Echeveste: While Internet usage continues to rise, television remains the best way to reach the Hispanic US audience. Despierta America is the most viewed national Spanish-language morning show, so it was an obvious target. Our pitch to the program's producers and reporter Karla Martinez stressed the RMHC/HACER scholarship, but it also underscored the fact that December is the time students and their families should begin looking for college aid.

What statistics or information did you provide to clinch this placement? Did you do any media training for any of the scholarship winners or the McDonald's spokesperson interviewed by Martinez?

Echeveste: We did provide background information, but the key for us was making this a general tips-driven story. We also did some training and set up an interview with Miami area student Brigitte Morales, who had received a $100,000 national RMHC/HACER scholarship, as well as with McDonald's spokesperson Cristina Alfaro.

We also emphasized that this scholarship was just one of many resources available to Hispanic students. Our message to them was to work with their high school guidance counselors to find out what was available.

What was the impact of the hit?

Echeveste: The live four-minute segment on Despierta America reached almost 2 million viewers, including many high school students on holiday break. The piece had an ad value of approximately $87,000, so the client was very pleased with the placement.

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