Paul Holmes 11 Jul 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
The Kellogg’s / Olympic Gold Medal Winners Video News Release produced and distributed by On The Scene Productions, deserves recognition because it is a prime example of a highly successful VNR directly resulting from a creative strategy, well executed under tight deadline and within budget.
The objective of this campaign was to create nationwide media coverage for Kellogg’s Champ Pack featuring Gold Medal Olympic athletes. The overall challenge was to create an electronic publicity campaign for Kellogg USA Cereals that would be newsworthy enough to receive substantial news pick up even with the dozens of other corporate sponsored events attempting to capture that same news attention at the Olympic Games. Additionally, many of these athletes were already on Kellogg’s cereal boxes as Olympic “hopefuls”, so earlier press had already been done in athletes’ local markets, thus diffusing our national story.
Particularly challenging was the fact that we approached this project while the Gold Medal winners were unknown. And, we were not announcing the ‘potential’ Olympians that were chosen until they won the Gold. Additionally, contingency plans had to be put into place to accommodate any last minute changes, such as injury to an athlete or change of venue availability.
With all the challenges of these unknown elements, we also were dealing with foreign crews; edit facilities and satellite uplinks that were already tapped to their maximum schedules with personnel and facilities at a premium.
Fleishman Hillard – Kellogg’s agency of record – chose On The Scene Productions two months prior to the events in Sydney. With eight weeks to go, strategy meetings with our clients resulted in a highly visual press event, using a 10-foot-high life-sized cereal box for the athletes’ presentation. This large box had to be custom built in Sydney and erected in our press event room.
On The Scene Productions’ staff members, in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and (eventually) in Australia, were an integral part of planning, producing, pitching and timely execution of these many elements.
Pitching this piece was particularly challenging, due to increased secrecy of ‘breaking the story’ before its time, the time zone difference from Sydney to the United States and pitching the specific reporters in their appropriate time zones on the weekend, traditionally the most difficult time to garner results.
Calculating the right time to release the story involved an agreement to let AP Photo have exclusive first access, coinciding with Sydney being a day ahead, with news coming out in real time, and OTSP pitching the story as the Olympic closing ceremony concluded on U.S. television.
Another ‘hurdle’ in our pitching effort was the simultaneous news coverage of other independently produced Olympics-related stories during the games and the massive news coverage by all networks of the daily Medalists. Our on-going concern was that stations would be experiencing Olympic fatigue and after the closing ceremony, would want to move on to other topics such as the Presidential campaign.
Our publicity team focused on Nationals and Top 20 markets – specifically sports reporters, lifestyle and feature reporters and general assignment producers. Our team spent tireless hours pitching one-on- one as well as working the weekend of the story release.
When the dust settled, a smart, targeted, non-commercial news piece, with four Olympic Gold Medalists had been produced and distributed. Results for the VNR have been incredible, surpassing all client expectations. The national media coverage from World News This Morning, The Today Show and All News Channel were a direct reflection of the OTSP production and pitching efforts.
The designated top 20 markets were all covered --- and ran the story. Fifty-five additional markets picked up the story in their news coverage with a total of 224 airdates nationwide and an audience of 48,851,653 viewers.
The VNR total budget for production and distribution was $27,865. Media Value for this project was reported at $687,960. The budget included the following:
- Pre production Meetings, coordination, research
- Production: Scripting of story slates, shot list, pre-edit of video
- Production: Full day producer / full crew / jib / operator
- Post Production: 8 hours of edit on the fly – in a truck
- Distribution: (1) feed back to the US from Sydney – to downlink
- 15 minute satellite distribution – domestic
- (25) Hardcopies for domestic distribution
- One-on-one pitching to Nationals and Top 20
- Broadcast Fax to Nationals and Top 50
- Sigma encoding/Weekly Reports/Final Report
The Kellogg’s / Olympic Gold Medal Winners VNR produced by On The Scene Productions is an award winning project because it took a complex marketing problem and turned it into a newsworthy press package that emerged as a winner among dozens of other Olympic corporate events, surpassing expectations, while staying within the original budget.