2011 Platinum PR Awards: Marketing Communications

Winner: EA SPORTS, Fleishman-Hillard & ESPN – Madden NFL 12 Cover Athlete Voting Campaign

EA SPORTS & Fleishman-Hillard’s multifaceted public relations and marketing effort to build awareness for the Madden NFL 12 cover athlete voting campaign was led by an aggressive media relations campaign that provided weekly and mid-weekly updates of voting results for key media targets. Furthermore, a partnership with ESPN allowed for the various player candidates to plead their cases for being the next cover athlete during interviews. Social media channels were also used as fans got the chance to participate in live chats with each player candidate. The campaign—led by EA Sports’ Rob Semsey, Julie Foster and Kristina Foster, and FH’s Steve Hickok, John Reseburg and Brett Cummings—culminated in March 2011 during the NFL Draft with the announcement of Peyton Hillis as the cover athlete. Once selected, the choice of Hillis was marketed via a Madden NFL 12 Kickoff event in New York’s Times Square, an event that included a “first look” at the game and a photo shoot on a giant replica football field and media opportunities such as an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. EA Sports achieved a 548% increase in total number of stories and 241% increase in media impressions over the previous year’s iteration of the game. —SP

Fast Fact: The EA Sports Madden NFL Facebook fan page brought in 200,000 new fans, a 50% increase from the number before the start of the campaign.

Honorable Mentions:

Conover Tuttle Pace (CTP) – Zenyatta’s “Quest for Perfection”: A campaign to increase interest in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup—centered around Zenyatta’s chase for an undefeated record—helped reverse the trend of decreasing interest in horse-racing as ticket sales increased by 40% from 2009 while revenue increased by 27.4%.

Hawaii Visitors & Conventions Bureau – HVCB’s 2010 “Perfect Moments” Market Saturation Campaign: HVCB’s promotional campaign to create interest in visiting Hawaii centered around seven month-long marketing efforts in targeted cities; the events were tailored to each city in an effort to attract avid travelers by exhibiting the uniqueness of Hawaii. To promote the events, HVCB invited influential bloggers to visit Hawaii and document their experiences.

Northwestern Mutual – A Foundation for Life: To educate and inform prospective and current clients about the benefits of permanent life insurance, NM’s Foundation for Life campaign set up a six-city speaking tour for NM CEO John Schlifske and Forbes CEO Steve Forbes to discuss the stability and flexibility of permanent life insurance. The media tour, combined with ads in business publications, resulted in a 9% increase in brand awareness.

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Initiative Media and Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals – Girlfriends for Folate: Ogilvy PR and Bayer, targeting young women who are largely unaware of the need to take folate in order to reduce the risk of birth defects, turned to MTV celebrity Vanessa Minnillo and popular celebrity and lifestyle outlets in a campaign that generated 400 million impressions and helped Bayer achieve mentions alongside the campaign in nearly 100% of the coverage.

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