Tchotchkes For Journos: Media Hit or The Perfect Re-Gift?

As part of the intensive media outreach to build awareness of online coupon site, Schwartz Communications deployed an established PR tactic—sending a gift to the desks of tier-one journalists and Web producers. The Holiday Gift Mailers included items available through via coupons. “The idea is to show journalists the savings that can be found on the site,” says Miranda Coykendall, senior account director at Schwartz. The 2008 mailers included items for just about everyone, including best friend, boyfriend and nephew. Products such as a pocket pedometer, grilling cookbook and baby’s onesie were included in the package, which retailed for $115. The packages were sent to about two dozen targets in 2008. The big question is, does such outreach really work? Coykendall says while she can’t be certain how many journalists were influenced to cover RetailMeNot, “it helps us get a foot in the door for later outreach.” Schwartz doubled the number of mailers in 2009. The key to media gift success: Have a clever hook. In this case it was the wish list that had “Retail Me” on one side and “RetailMeNot” on the other, with retail prices for the former, and coupon savings prices for the latter. The total savings, by the way, was more than $20.

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