Winner: Singer Associates Public Affairs/Public Relations - The $70 Million Press Conference
In 2012, after more than a year of negotiations, Pacific Gas & Electric walked away from the negotiating table with the city of San Bruno, Calif., which had been seeking $70 million in restitution for a 2010 natural gas explosion that killed eight residents, hurt 52 others, destroyed 38 homes and damaged another 70 residences. Not giving up, the city of San Bruno turned to Singer Associates to apply its considerable media relations know-how and pressure PG&E to come back to the table and work out a deal.
Singer then planned and executed its “$70 Million Press Conference,” bringing in San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane and members of the San Bruno City Council, and supporting it with a press release that called upon PG&E to return to the negotiating table. A press release and a press conference? Where’s the originality in that, you might ask? It’s the David and Goliath story behind the press conference that the media picked up on: that of a small city to standing up to a major statewide utility and demanding compensation in a press conference and news release.
Local and national media responded to the David and Goliath theme; the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and other major national media covered both the press conference and news release. Within a month of the press conference, PG&E agreed to pay $70 million to the city of San Bruno for compensation and restitution for the damage. Score one for David. —Steve Goldstein
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