Yesterday was one of the craziest days I've had in my professional career. At 4 pm, I received a note from the CEO of one of our clients, Eyelock, that the company's CMO, Tony Antolino, was aboard a JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas that had problems. The captain had freaked out, and four passengers, including Antolino, had to restrain him to prevent him from re-entering the cockpit – and causing a possible disaster.
My initial reaction was shock. I've known Antolino for almost 10 years. He's someone I consider both a friend and a client, and I was glad he wasn't hurt. Then, the PR person in me sprung into action. This could be his Sully Sullenberger moment.
Recognizing this was an opportunity that needed to be addressed immediately or lost forever, KCSA's PR team turned on the machine in a matter of minutes, reaching out to our many contacts in both the print and broadcast media world.
By 11 pm last night, Antolino had been interviewed either by phone or in studio by Today, CBS This Morning, Piers Morgan's producers at CNN, and Fox & Friends, to name a few.
They all wanted Tony - wanted him exclusively and wanted him now.
We determined CNN should have first dibs since it has the right show at the right time: Piers Morgan Tonight.
En route to the CNN studio in Las Vegas, Antolino spoke with The New York Times for a column to appear in the coming days, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and USA Today.
We counseled Antolino against giving exclusives to one media outlet over another. KCSA negotiated between Today and CBS This Morning to make sure both had the opportunity to interview him and got what they wanted and needed - and that KCSA and Antolino were properly represented. Amazingly, he was on both networks at the same time - as can be seen from the time stamps on the following segments.
The point of this blog isn't to brag about the results KCSA secured. It is to point out the importance of having relationships with the national media, not to mention their trust and confidence.
In addition, it is about the importance of thinking out of the box in developing ways to get our clients additional exposure. KCSA has represented Eyelock for a couple of years now. By taking advantage of this sensationalistic opportunity, the media we were in touch with last night and this morning now know about Eyelock, even though it wasn't the story.
The JetBlue story will have legs for maybe another two or three days. KCSA will continue to stand by Antolino and ensure Eyelock is the ultimate winner in this media frenzy. Give us the grist and we'll make the news!
Lewis Goldberg is managing partner at KCSA Strategic Communications.