Sealed Air Corporation, a leading global innovator and manufacturer of a wide range of packaging and performance-based materials and equipment systems, is also the maker of Bubble Wrap, the iconic brand best known for protecting products and providing fun and stress release to millions of people each day.
In addition to planned initiatives designed to garner media attention, the brand also looks to Coyne Public Relations to keep its Bubble Wrap brand top-of-mind for consumers by leveraging current events and timely opportunities.
One of those timely opportunities arose when the May 3 issue of Sports Illustrated hit the newsstands, and three of the “Core Four” Yankees of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte featured on the cover. Just as the issue hit newsstands, Posada and Rivera had missed games due to injury. During the fifth inning of the Yankees game on Wednesday, May 5, Andy Pettitte suffered an injury and left the game, leaving Derek Jeter as the only healthy Yankee featured on the cover.
Legend has it that after athletes appear on the Sports Illustrated cover, they are subject to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, which curses the athletes who appear on the cover. A media audit supported that the jinx has been a topic of interest to the media in the past (i.e. Lindsay Vonn injury in February 2010).
The stars had aligned for an opportunistic PR stunt that would score Sealed Air Corp. and Bubble Wrap national media attention.
Sealed Air Corp. challenged Coyne PR to raise awareness of the Bubble Wrap brand and keeping it top-of-mind for consumers by capitalizing on the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.
Leveraging the popularity of Derek Jeter, the hometown New York Yankees and the media’s interest in Sports Illustrated cover jinx, the Coyne Public Relations team immediately knew that Sealed Air Corp. could capitalize on this unique situation by “protecting” Jeter from the jinx with Bubble Wrap – the iconic brand best known for protecting products and providing fun and stress release to millions of people each day. The team was confident that this would create not only sports news, but also national news.
With only a single off-day scheduled for the Yankees the following day before they traveled to Boston for a nationally televised three-game series against the Red Sox, the window of opportunity to make news was small.
Coyne Public Relations would strategically target Sports Illustrated’s popular website columnist Jimmy Traina to break the news online during the off day, while also targeting national publications including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and the Yankees’ beat writers at The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and Newsday to spread the news in print.
To protect Derek Jeter from becoming the final Yankee to succumb to the jinx, Sealed Air Corp. would send Jeter a special roll of Bubble Wrap made just for him. Instead of issuing a press release, the team immediately got to work on a letter that incorporated Bubble Wrap’s core messaging “penned” by the business manager of Sealed Air Corp that would be delivered to Derek Jeter, explaining how and why Sealed Air Corp. would protect him.
Once receiving quick approval from the client Thursday morning on the letter and stunt, the team acted fast to coordinate the creation of a visual that would carry the day. The Coyne Public Relations graphics team, Studio C, would design a special label for the oversized roll of Bubble Wrap, branded with Yankee pinstripes, Jeter’s No. 2 and the Bubble Wrap logo. Studio C also designed an oversized mailing label addressed to Jeter’s name for delivery at Fenway Park in Boston.
Meanwhile, the Coyne Public Relations team drove to the Bubble Wrap factory to identify the roll that would be delivered to the Captain. Once the roll was selected, the Coyne Public Relations team headed back to the office to apply the special labels, before returning to the factory with a photographer that would capture the photo that would be critical during media outreach: a factory worker placing the special Bubble Wrap, along with the letter, in the box to be delivered overnight to Jeter.
Using nothing but the photo and letter during outreach, Coyne Public Relations leaked the letter and the photo to Sports Illustrated’s popular website columnist Jimmy Traina to post on his popular “Hot Clicks” column that afternoon. Once the news broke, the team put on a full-court media blitz to make the public aware of Bubble Wrap’s special delivery to the Captain.
Generating more than 40 million consumer impressions with more than 50 stories and 10 broadcast segments, the Bubble Wrap’s special delivery to Derek Jeter was a home run. After taking its place on the lead story of Hot Clicks, the news of Sealed Air Corp.’s special delivery to Derek Jeter began to spread across the country.
Fueled by a visual that captivated both social and traditional media, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, The New York Times, and Newsday had ran stories on the package in print. “CNN Headline News” had run four segments on the stunt that morning, which allowed the news to result in multiple mentions on ESPN, including a full feature on “SportsCenter,” “NBC New York” and WPIX evening news. The news was also discussed on New York’s No. 1 morning radio show “Boomer and Carton,” and also on “Joe and Evan,” both on WFAN.
Perhaps the biggest hit for Sealed Air Corp. was that the special delivery was highlighted in a discussion by FOX broadcast team Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during the 7th inning of the national broadcast of the Yankees-Red Sox FOX Saturday Game of the Week.
The stunt received critical acclaim by respected industry publications PRWeek and O’Dwyer’s, as both printed feature stories on the stunt.