The rise and fall—and rise again—of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is a true story of redemption: not because of his words of sorrow and regret, but in how he chooses to use the wisdom gained from his journey. After his life took a grim detour, the superstar athlete has not made light of his second chance.
With the privilege to play professional football again and a desire to be a positive example through both his words and actions, Vick engaged FWV to develop a strategic approach in reshaping his focus off the field. As Vick began his second season with the Eagles in 2010, he desired to build a positive relationship with the Philadelphia community and reestablish his commitment to touching the lives of young people.
? Shape positive perception of Michael Vick through his off field activities
? Build a stronger connection between Michael Vick and the Philadelphia community
? Manage overall reputation and image of Michael Vick
? Identify organizations and partnerships that address and reach target audience
? Use strategic media outreach and event opportunities to share a personal view of Michael Vick rarely seen in public
? Use influencers as flag-wavers in public support of Michael Vick
FWV devised a strategy to reestablish Michael Vick through an issues management and community relations campaign comprised of proactive events and activities with key influencers who would be ambassadors on behalf of Vick. Using Vick’s life as a message to motivate and inspire, FWV sought to temper the negative noise and provide the public an authentic view of who he has become.
While implementing the program, FWV observed that Vick’s phenomenal on the field success was an opportunity to revise the initial goals and objectives and develop a broader program strategy. FWV began identifying opportunities to leverage current tactics that could expand Vick’s community relations efforts beyond Philadelphia and to a national audience.
FWV worked closely with Vick to identify underserved and at-risk youth as an audience of interest for his community outreach—a group he has worked to reach since his early career. Through the development of strategic relationships in Philadelphia, FWV coordinated Vick’s participation in several key efforts throughout the second half of 2010 that have become the springboard to additional opportunities for 2011, including:
• Back-to-School Event: Organized logistics for a back-to-school supply drive that Vick and several Eagles players hosted to benefit students at Philadelphia schools.
• “What it Takes”: Coordinated Vick’s panel participation in the 4th annual “What it Takes” symposium along with sports analyst James Brown and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to address the drop-out rate of inner-city youth and the dire need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
• City of Philadelphia: Coordinated an opportunity for Vick to work with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and become an integral part of the Mayor’s Community Service Agenda.
• Humane Society of the United States: Worked closely with Humane Society organizers in coordinating events to support Vick’s personal commitment to the organization.
One of the most talented and dynamic quarterbacks of his generation, Michael Vick’s athletic performance, coupled with his off the field efforts coordinated through FWV, are reshaping his image into an American icon of redemption. FWV developed a strategic effort that gave the public an authentic look at his current life off the field that is resulting in immense favorable media coverage for Vick, with a 3:1 sentiment ratio (Social Mention).
As a result of FWV’s strategic counsel and community relations on his behalf, Michael Vick has retained the agency as his brand marketing, public relations and social media agency of record through 2011.
Increased Influencer Support:
• NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the New York Daily News in a November 18, 2010, article that he was proud of Vick and sees his off the field work as inspiring to others. "My main concerns were off the field. He's done terrific off the field. …He's turning himself in the right direction. For that, I'm very proud of him."
• On a November “Meet the Press” appearance, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter expressed his admiration at the redemption of Vick and the positive impact his presence and off the field work has had on the City of Philadelphia.
Stronger Connection to the Community:
• FWV coordinated Vick’s participation in the Dreuding Center Thanksgiving Feast where he, along with Philadelphia’s most prominent business and civic leaders and celebrities, served Thanksgiving dinner to the city’s sheltered women and children.
• Michael Vick’s personal commitment to the Humane Society of the United States has garnered national attention, where he talks candidly to urban youth to inspire and motivate them into a positive direction. His recent speaking engagement to students in New Haven, Conn., was broadcast on ESPN and generated residual positive editorial coverage of his off the field efforts.
• Vick and other Philadelphia Eagles players hosted a back-to-school supply drive event where fans and supporters donated over 650 new back packs and miscellaneous school supplies. The drive benefited the third-grade classes of three Philadelphia schools. FWV scheduled interviews and secured coverage with select local media outlets.
• Vick was selected as the Volunteers of America® (Delaware Valley) “Man of the Year” for embodying the organization’s principle of optimizing a “second chance” in life.