Winner: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority - Prince Harry
In August 2012, Prince Harry visited Las Vegas for a personal vacation. During his stay, he enjoyed the company of friends in his hotel suite. The evening consisted of a game of strip billiards, and just a few days later, images were splashed across media outlets worldwide. This posed a problem for the destination that promises to keep people's secrets safe. Media outlets not only ran the Prince Harry photo leak, but also discussed the validity of Las Vegas' claim of "What Happens Here, Stays Here."
The PR response was constructed to reassure potential visitors that they could visit the destination without their actions being shared with the public, while also calling upon audiences to re-commit or make a pledge to "know the code"—and ultimately, reminding audiences that Las Vegas is the ultimate adult destination.
Within hours of first learning about the leaked photos story, R&R Partners and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority had developed a plan and started working on quotes regarding the situation, a graphic to be used on the Las Vegas Facebook wall, Twitter messaging and hashtag and a full-page USA Today ad. While it would take time to design, gain client approval and confirm a contract for an ad in USA Today, PR quickly released a statement to outlets already covering the story, as well as additional targeted media, to gain traction in the conversation and start to steer messaging to the destination and away from the photos.
On day 2, a graphic displaying the slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On, Harry" was released on Facebook and sponsored Twitter messages pushed the hashtag "KnowTheCode," which drove traffic to the "Know the Code" microsite, where fans could pledge to keep Las Vegas secrets secret.
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