One for the Parks
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

One for the Parks

In a unique link between cyber space and the wilderness, PhotoPoint.com reached out to send a message to Washington, DC. Our national parks are in dire straits with no revamping in 35 years.

Paul Holmes

  Can a dot.com company save our national parks?  In a unique link between cyber space and the wilderness, PhotoPoint.com reached out to send a message to Washington, DC.  Our national parks are in dire straits with no revamping in 35 years.  PhotoPoint.com, a website for sharing photos, created an accessible way to send a message to Senators and the President by creating e-mails of national park photos that were sent in.
 
OBJECTIVES:
 
  • Bring awareness about the deteriorating condition of our national parks
  • Alert the audience about the billions of dollars needed for repairs
  • Urge people to use a grass-roots approach via the Internet to get attention from the President and Senators
  • Publicize photopoint.com, a photo-sharing website and demonstrate how sharing photos can be fun, nostalgic, and in this case, a vehicle for sending a powerful message.
 
PLANNING:
 
The plan was to create a video news release that would showcase the parks and provide a call to action.  By weaving spectacular shots of our national parks with identifiable sounds, interviews and a call to action, an emotional response would be elicited.  With this VNR, Photopoint.com hoped to:
 
  • To grab attention, words, pictures and sound were needed and thus a video news release was deemed the best medium.
  • To send the viewers to a website that would make it easy to send messages
  • Encourage viewers to send in a favorite photo of a national park to PhotoPoint.com, where it would be turned into an e-card, asking Senate and The President to set aside 1% of the federal budget surplus to save our parks.
 
OBSTACLES:
 
There was no budget to send a crew to take pictures of the national parks.  We were sent old video footage with a fifties style narration for the sound bed.  The images of the national parks were edited and the narration laid in.  However, it took another two days of editing the sound track to hear rushing rivers, twinkling streams, whispering winds, birds chirping and all the sounds we associate with a trek through a national park.
 
EVALUATION:
 
The entire media campaign included print and radio, but the VNR was the largest component.
 
The video news release reached more than 1 million viewers in 5 of the top 20 markets.  Interestingly, the majority of hits were in the West, home to the most famous national parks. In this case, we must also evaluate success by the response, rather than the number, of viewers. 
 
PhotoPoint.com reported a steady stream of traffic on their website during the campaign and because e-mail photo messages were visual and unique, there was greater impact of the plea.
 
The story along with the video news release was also posted on Medialink’s online news portal, Newstream.com (www.newstream.com), which reported 63 media hits, including 5 Nielsen-ranked websites: CBS MarketWatch, Good Housekeeping, St. Louis Post Dispatch, about.com and the Associated Press.
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