Media Face-Off at Talkabout Mountain
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Holmes Report

Media Face-Off at Talkabout Mountain

This was a media event like no other. The experience was designed to launch the Motorola Talkabout T6300 series of two-way radios, effectively demonstrate their usefulness, and cultivate lasting media relationships.

Paul Holmes

Nine groups of strangers … the Rocky Mountain wilderness … some funky high-tech gadgets … no, this isn't another Survivor series.  Where are we going with this?  To the "Talkabout Mountain Challenge," that's where.  A three-day event, featuring a mini-triathlon, hosted by Motorola near Breckenridge, Colorado at the Keystone Resort.  This was a media event like no other.  The experience was designed to launch the Motorola Talkabout T6300 series of two-way radios, effectively demonstrate their usefulness, and cultivate lasting media relationships.


Pulling together an eclectic mix of 25 media guests from various backgrounds and athletic abilities into competitive teams proved to be a significant challenge.  The event needed to ensure a fun experience for everyone attending, while simultaneously being relevant to a wide variety of backgrounds, ranging from the young, female urbanite Mademoiselle editor to the older, male hunting and fishing freelance writer.


At the onset of this assignment, Hill and Knowlton used research to address:

Choice of context and method of demonstration
Based on prior experience with media coverage as well as soft soundings with target journalists, Hill and Knowlton determined that simply distributing a product fact sheet would not be compelling enough to generate the type of coverage Motorola desired for this launch.  Based on that assessment, it was clear that an extensive product demonstration would be an integral part of the plan.  Feedback also indicated that the inclusion of key messages directly from a reporter who actually used the product is far more compelling than information pulled from a fact sheet or news release. 

Choice of appropriate venue
Several possible venues were researched as potential sites for the challenge.  Requirements included an easily reachable location for guests flying in from across the country, an appealing outdoor environment for the physical challenge and a site with appropriate accommodations.  The Xterra American Tour was identified as an appropriate venue to coincide with the Talkabout Mountain Challenge event.  This triathlon event, held annually at this site, provided a feeling of athletic competition and excitement to lend to the overall atmosphere of the Motorola event. The Keystone Resort, location of the Xterra Tour, provided an ideal environment to have the radios showcased in a larger than life backdrop for a small media event.  Pairing with the Xterra event also allowed Motorola to leverage the existing course set up for the media competition's hiking, biking and water courses.  



  • Creatively introduce the new Talkabout T6300 series of two-way radios to a broad range of top tier consumer media outlets.
  • Develop lasting relationships with key consumer editors and reporters that can be leveraged for ongoing campaigns. 


The launch of the Talkabout T6300 series of two-way radios presented the prime opportunity for a media event.  As a newly expanded personal communications category, FRS two-way radios are breaking out of the narrow hunting/fishing audience into mainstream lifestyle applications.  The radios now have new user-friendly functionality, which has created a wealth of opportunities for coverage among men's, women's, teen, parenting and specialty sports outlets.  

This newly broadened audience needed to be introduced to the benefits of communicating with high-tech two-way radios.  The media would need to have a hands-on interactive experience in order to be able to adopt a "two-way frame of mind."  Actually seeing the radios in action would provide media with a more tangible idea of how consumers could adapt the radios as a tool for their daily communication needs.


A targeted list of top tier media received creative eye-catching invitations, featuring two tin cans tied together with string, attached to a card with the tagline "It worked great in your backyard … but your backyard is bigger now."  The invitation welcomed them to experience the next generation of two-way communications at a secret location outside Denver, Colorado (they found out their destination upon securing their RSVP).  The flow of the weekend progressed as follows:  

  • Upon arrival, media guests were given a Motorola branded Timberland backpack filled with all of their outdoor necessities, including the T6300 radios.
  • Glamorous Polaroid shots were taken of the weary travelers, which were then used to match up nine competitive teams.  Color coordinated team shirts were placed outside participants' doors as they rested up for the next day's event.  
  • Following a rustic group breakfast in the field at the base of the mountain, participants were given their first full briefing of the competition and demonstration of the T6300 radios.  
  • Each of the nine teams was divided into three squads and a "net control" group who stayed at the base and instructed their squads, using a guide book with maps of the course, the T6300 radios and their raw animal instinct.  
  • The teams navigated their way through the hiking, biking and water courses in a timed competition, collecting various off-beat evidence of their journeys along the way.
  • After cleaning off the dirt and grime from their adventures on the mountain, participants enjoyed a rewarding feast, complete with the local specialty, "Mountain Joy Juice."

The remainder of the weekend provided various bonding activities for the media guests, Motorola executives and Hill and Knowlton staff.  From cocktail parties and horseback riding to team building activities and whitewater rafting, lasting relationships were formed.

In addition, Hill and Knowlton developed specific collateral including information sheets provided in the media backpacks and an event-specific logo used to drive home the branding of the event.   


100 percent of the 25 media attendees at the Talkabout Mountain Challenge event covered the two-way radio products, resulting in 8,768,6000 consumer impressions.  The positive reviews of the products did not end with one hit, and have continued on throughout the ongoing launch of each of the three two-way radios in the series.

While it's difficult to quantify the value of a relationship developed with media over the duration of a highly interactive three-day weekend, each and every attendee has built a lasting connection with the Motorola brand.  A small sampling of the developments based on these relationships includes:'s coverage of the Talkabout T6300 radios led to an exclusive on-site promotion, and a partnership with their extreme sports team, the XGirls.  

Significant increase in holiday gift guide coverage for all Motorola PCS product groups among over 100 outlets invited to the event (not only those who attended).

Stuff magazine featured an exclusive review of the Talkabout T6300 series, and continues to positively cover the entire portfolio of Motorola high-tech gadgets.

Special Note:  The Motorola Talkabout Mountain Challenge logo, developed by the Hill and Knowlton graphics group, is currently being considered for a corporate identity logo for a number of Motorola's ongoing specialized outdoor sponsorships.

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