2008 PR News Platinum PR Issue Winner: Editorial/Op-Ed

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 editorial/op-ed.

Roche and Fleishman-Hillard

CEO Bylined Editorial Reaches Corporate Audience with Pandemic Preparedness Message

Hofmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche) CEO George Abercrombie says that one thing keeps him up at night: the fear that a deadly pandemic flu will hit and millions will need the Roche- produced antiviral flu medication Tamiflu, but the need would be impossible to meet. Collaborating with the federal government to build a Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) was one step in allaying that fear, but the Abercrombie-led company needed to do more to fill the gap. The solution: Calling upon the business community to play an integral role in national pandemic preparedness and response by developing pandemic plans.

To reach the niche audience of C-suite executives, the communications team at Roche decided that leveraging Abercrombie's unique expertise in pandemic planning via a bylined article would be the most strategic way to achieve that goal. Partnering with Fleishman-Hillard, the team closely monitored media coverage of corporate preparedness to identify possible news hooks.

Contagious Messaging

Once the hook had been identified, the team worked with Abercrombie to craft a newsworthy and factual piece that communicated key messages, including:

·         Businesses need to play a role in pandemic planning.

·         The health and human services plan identifies preparedness roles for the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The team targeted publications that influence a senior corporate audience, ultimately landing placement in investor's business daily. The piece subsequently led to additional media outreach efforts.

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