2013 Platinum PR Awards: Influencer Communications

Winner: Lockheed Martin Corporation - Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) FY13 Keep Sold Campaign

The multinational Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program was under fire and facing several challenges, including a motivated and entrenched competitor, which was fighting to keep its valuable Army air and missile defense franchise intact. MEADS was weakened by a 2011 U.S. decision to continue development but not enter production. For the past two years, MEADS had been the target of a campaign to deny FY13 funding and prematurely end the program.

As a result, overall goals for the Fiscal Year 2013 “keep sold” campaign were to secure funding to continue the program; show influential decision-makers that MEADS is superior to its competitor in performance, cost, and deployability; alert these decision-makers to the risk of losing an almost fully paid technology investment in MEADS; and demonstrate to employees and strategic partners Lockheed Martin’s commitment to completing the MEADS program despite setbacks.

In order to accomplish these goals, MEADS implemented a sustained print, Web and radio advertising campaign to target lawmakers and Pentagon decision-makers. Joint conference briefings with customer, press releases, interviews and trade show displays continued throughout the year.

Although the 112th Congress removed MEADS funding from the defense authorization bill passed in late 2012, $380 million was restored to fund MEADS in the defense budget passed this year by the 113th Congress, achieving Lockheed’s overall goal of continuing funding for the program.

The campaign was a success on a variety of other fronts as well. MEADS coverage has been favorable; in 2012, MFC tracked 326 press clippings (nearly 30/month) with 77% favorable; 112 stories resulted from media relations activities.

Similarly, traffic to MEADS-AMD.com increased through synchronization with advertising, op-ed, and other media efforts. The website evolved into an authoritative opinion site and provided ready access to photos and media materials. Usage continued to grow. From an average of 1,000 monthly visits during 2010, the 2011 average doubled, peaking at 4,889 during the budget debates. In 2012, monthly visit counts stabilized at 4,500, peaking at 10,000 concurrent with flight test and funding debate interest.

Honorable Mentions:

  • APCO Worldwide - New Yorkers for Beverage Choices
  • Be The Match with PadillaCRT - Inspiring Congressional Support of a Life-Saving Cause
  • JSH&A Communications & The Hershey Company  - Hershey's Cookie Headquarters
  • LG Electronics with Ogilvy Public Relations - LG Introduces the Sport of Techorating
  • Pollock Communications - Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea & Human Health
  • Porter Novelli - Almond Orchard Experience
  • RadioShack - Powering Up Influencers and Attendees at SXSW
  • Sprint - Velocity launch
  • Tanus Capital - Investing and Politics