2008 PR News Platinum PR Issue Winner: Media Relations

The winners and honorable mentions in this year's PR news Platinum PR awards issue exemplify the most innovative approaches to redefining traditional PR with anything-but- traditional strategies. From a marketing communications effort that united a country over the search for the stars of a 1950s TV commercial to an event that landed a flock of pink flamingos around the windy city, the following winner confirms that the PR profession has indeed stepped out from the shadows to take a front-and-center role in delivering business results to their own organizations, and to their clients. Below is the winner of the 2008 PR News Platinum PR award for media relations.

Rogers & Cowan and Quakecon

Turning the Quakecon 2007 "Woodstock of Gaming" into a Global Phenomenon

Widely referred to as the "Woodstock of Gaming," Quakecon is the largest area network video game fan appreciation event in North America. Working with PR firm Rogers & Cowan, Quakecon wanted to take event global in 2007 in terms of awareness and impact, and to increase the event attendance by 10% from 2006.

A Seismic Opportunity

With Quakecon 2007 scheduled for dallas and sponsored by the locally based id software, the team employed the following strategies to meet their goals:

·         Position Quakecon 2007 as a global phenomenon by publicizing the fact that gamers represent 52 countries in attendance;

·         Leverage id software's brand equity; and,

·         Adopt a less-is-more approach to generate chat and pique curiosity.

To determine the messaging and positioning that would set Quakecon apart from similar events, Rogers & Cowan examined press coverage at the rival events to determine effective media hooks and uncover any new or untapped editors. The firm also reviewed previous-year media attendee lists to determine additional targets.

Mobilizing the Media, Mastering the Game

Then, to leverage identified press, Rogers & Cowan sent out a verbal tease prior to the event. The account team let it "slip" that id Software planned on making several important announcements at the event, without divulging anything further. Naturally, this sparked excitement and discussion among editors. Also, id Software evangelists were fed a regular dose of Quakecon news through chat rooms and message boards.

The firm managed all media activity at the event itself, targeting more than 45 press contacts and developing a variety of pitches highlighting the 96-hour, round-the-clock event schedule. Also, to generate additional broadcast coverage, the agency hired a local tv crew to produce a b-roll package.

Thanks to the combined efforts, Quakecon 2007 attracted 130 press contacts from more than 60 different outlets, which include USA Today, Reuters and Dallas Morning News. And the best news? Event attendance grew by more than 10% from 5,400 in 2006 to 6,000 in 2007.