3 Tips to Integrate Creative With Traditional PR

Tracy Phillips

In crafting the campaign to help client Airlines for America (A4) rally support against a federal tax initiative on the airline industry, APCO Worldwide put its creative group to work, producing advertising and other communications collateral—including 5,000 air sickness bags (Sick of Taxes?) that were distributed via a guerrilla marketing component of the campaign—that had a bold look and feel.

As the lines between marketing and PR continue to blur, here are some tips on integrating creative with traditional PR from Tracy Phillips, associate director and senior graphic designer at APCO.

  1. Form follows function, most of the time. From day one, APCO wanted to use air-sickness bags somehow, just not for their intended purpose. Use items creatively, especially ones related to your industry/issue, to act as a vehicle for a message to generate big buzz.

  2. Palettes with purpose. In the branding, APCO used colors seen in cautionary signage—yellows and blacks—an appropriate palette since A4A was warning the audience of potential downfalls of adding more taxes. “Incorporate striking color combinations to draw attention in print/web, amidst the sea of typical policy-focused ads,” Phillips says.

  3. Big message. Concise copy. A4A had an important message for the audience and wanted them to take action quickly. APCO kept it simple but prominent in the design: “ADD TAXES, LOSE JOBS. STOP AIR TAX NOW.” Don’t make your audience hunt for what you want to say. You’ll lose them long before the call to action

PR News subscribers can read more about how Phillips and APCO launched a creative assault against a proposed airline tax in the case study "APCO, Airlines for America Stave Off Federal Tax Initiative With High-Flying Education, Lobbying and Media Campaign." 


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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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