2013 Platinum PR Awards: Branding

Winner: Hanna Lee Communications - The World's Most Talked About and Most Profitable Bar Opening:  The Dead Rabbit, a 'Gangs of New York' Style Cocktail Saloon

Hanna Lee Communications conducted a successful branding campaign by focusing on The Dead Rabbit's unique total experience, including its drinks, food menu and staff that transport guests to the mid-19th century and capture the experience of newly-arrived Irish immigrants to Lower Manhattan.

Hanna Lee also sought to create maximum media exposure and positive buzz around the opening of The Dead Rabbit, which is a bi-level saloon in Lower Manhattan that conjures up the mid-19th century New York/Irish experience envisioned in the Martin Scorsese movie, "Gangs of New York."

Efforts were made to spotlight the bar's 72 historically accurate cocktails that were painstakingly researched via antique cocktail books and recreated with an eye to please the modern palate; efforts were also made to highlight the fact that The Dead Rabbit's opening would be the first in the area after Hurricane Sandy.

The overall strategy was to use 360-degree storytelling—from the bar's history-infused concept to its personalities, from the savvy investor team to Lower Manhattan's revival—to communicate the experience of The Dead Rabbit and leverage its various newsworthy assets:

The campaign sought to control the message and ensure initial coverage in top media—like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal—and later reached out to a broader range of media

In order to effectively communicate The Dead Rabbit's messages, it was critical that targeted media have an immersive experience of the venue and taste its offerings for themselves. To accomplish this most effectively, the agency organized a series of press events, one-on-one interviews and guided tastings. These tastings targeted specific kinds of media and each had a tailored, relevant theme

Overall, Hanna Lee’s hard work created maximum positive buzz around The Dead Rabbit's Opening; in fact, it was the most talked about in recent history, with 298 million media impressions generated in 149 media outlets during a six-month period. And, since opening its doors, The Dead Rabbit achieved profitability in record time and has maintained it consistently.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Alpaytac Marketing Communications/Public Relations - Turkish Airlines U.S. Branding
  • General Motors and Weber Shandwick - The Story of the New General Motors: Repositioning the Iconic American Automobile Company to a Leading Technology Company
  • Grey Activation & PR - Canon Proves Anyone Can Be Creative and Regains #1 Position with "Project Imaginat10n"
  • Hampton Hotels - Feel the Hamptonality
  • Ketchum - Double Tree by Hilton’s Little Things Project
  • Makovsky + Company - Equities First Holdings
  • Makovsky + Company - MediScripts
  • View with Ogilvy Public Relations - See Possibility: Change The Way People Think About Designing Buildings

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About Chris Seymour

Steve Goldstein is editorial director for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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