How’d You Get That


Getting kids to step outside their normal concerns and think deeply about the world around them is no easy task. But pitching this concept of "free thought" among kids may be an even tougher assignment. The Blaze Company, a Venice, Calif.-based firm, was charged with garnering media coverage for The Webb Schools in Claremont, Calif., two separate college prep institutions (one for boys and one for girls), where students are encouraged to step "outside the box." At other high schools, for example, career day features doctors, teachers and firemen. At the Webb Schools, "career day" is not even called career day. Known as the "Unbounded Thinkers Symposium," the day begins with outdoor yoga and meditation for students at dawn, and speakers include renowned oceanographic researchers, Holocaust survivors and candidates for doctorates in theoretic chemistry. This symposium provided an event for The Blaze Company to use as a media hook. But it was still abstract and cerebral enough to be difficult for the general public to understand - and therefore unappealing to most target media outlets. The Blaze team decided to break out various speakers to deliver what different media outlets were looking for. Team members pored over speaker bios to find the perfect fit for each media outlet. For example, Eric Tulsky - the theoretic chemist on the speaker roster - challenged various Webb Schools students to no less than 20 simultaneous chess matches. The team knew this would be the most visual of the stories coming out of the symposium, so they pitched it to local TV media. The PR team's instincts were right: The pitch, which provided quirky appeal and a concrete vehicle to demonstrate some very abstract concepts, successfully garnered coverage on KCAL-TV with a live a broadcast repeated throughout the day. "By identifying different story angles and picking them off, we were able to help the media comprehend the event," says Mark Margolis, senior account executive with The Blaze Company. The Los Angeles Times also covered the story, focusing on how the school and the speakers were challenging students' thought processes. (Margolis, 310/450-6060, mmargolis@blazecompany.com)

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