2012 Platinum PR Awards: Press Release

Winner: Southwest Airlines - Southwest Introduces New Era of Customer Comfort and Sustainability with Evolution of Cabin Interior Design  

For Southwest’s Evolve, its new eco- friendly, cost-efficient cabin interior, the Southwest PR team crafted a press release around three messages: increased customer comfort, cabin sustainability (using recyclable, more durable products) and revenue potential (by increasing the number of seats onboard from 137 to 143). Facts, photos, a time-lapse video, a 360-degree virtual tour video and a seat diagram were all included in the release. 

The press release was distributed through PR Newswire’s nationwide list and CSR distribution channels such as 3BL and JustMeans, as well as Southwest’s corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts. The release generated positive news coverage surrounding all three message points, generated 517 news clips and more than 1,000 social media mentions. —BM

Honorable Mentions 

Bally Technologies – U.S. Marine Wins $2.9 Million on Bally Slot Machine: When an active-duty U.S. Marine won a $2.9 million slot machine jackpot at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, a 300-word press release was written in simple language, following an inverted pyramid style and letting this amazing story tell itself in eight short paragraphs. Capturing the limited attention of television news producers, reporters and editors—the story earned $3.3 million in estimated ad value on television, in print and online.

Domino’s Pizza – New Domino’s Chicken & Bacon Carbonara Artisan Pizza & “No” Campaign: In a twist on the customer always being right, Domino’s encouraged them to try Domino’s Artisan Pizzas—but not to add any ingredients to the original recipe. The release began with the line: “Domino’s is doing something it never would have imagined: telling customers ‘no.’” The release led to an exclusive pre-launch story with the Associated Press.

Howard Johnson International - Howard Johnson’s Don Draper Promotion: When, unbeknownst to the company, the Howard Johnson brand was given an integral role on an episode of Mad Men, with lead character Don Draper visiting a HoJo, its PR team quickly launched a nationally distributed press release
to all major consumer publications offering a free night at select locations and limiting it to those with the legal name of Don Draper, earning 700 online, print and broadcast news clips for the brand, totaling more than 146 million impressions.

Reading Is Fundamental – Book People Unite: Part of a comprehensive rebranding strategy to catapult RIF and its mission back into the public spotlight, Weber Shandwick created a multimedia press release that highlighted the importance of childhood literacy. Release results include: 215 press release placements; 140 articles secured; and 80 million media impressions. 

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