Stacey Bender, president, The Bender-Hammerling Group (Montclair, NJ)
The New York Times, April 11, 2012
Who is your client and what are their media goals?
Just Born makes iconic candies such as Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales, and marshmallow Peeps. As its PR firm, we were brought in to handle the media portion of a campaign created by its ad agency, The Elevator Group, about the split of Mike and Ike.
Our task was to generate national media coverage aimed at both younger and older consumers months in advance of most of the marketing.
What made The New York Times an ideal target for what amounted to an advertising-themed story and how did you pitch reporter Andrew Adam Newman?
We knew a New York Times placement would both frame what was a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign and trigger interest from plenty of other outlets.
We had worked with Andy Newman before, and so offered him the chance to get the story in advance of all the elements breaking. He agreed, but stressed he wasn't going to play along with the ruse of the split and wanted to focus instead on how Just Born was trying to reach a younger audience by using the campaign.
Was it a challenge breaking this well in advance of the actual campaign?
That was challenging, but it helped that packaging high-lighting the Mike and Ike split was hitting shelves and the Facebook and Twitter pieces were already beginning at that point.
We were able to provide Andy with interviews with First Born VP of brand development and corporate services Matthew Pye, as well as Elevator Group president Mark Richardson, who described how the tongue-in-cheek marketing was being conceived and executed.
What was the hit's impact?
The New York Times story set the stage for a flurry of additional coverage, including the Huffington Post, AP, CNN, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Included in some of those pieces was speculation of whether this was a gay marriage split - which it wasn't - and that led to more stories.
Mike and Ike ended up being the hit of the Sweet and Snack Expo in Chicago in May so the client was really pleased.