When Tin Drum, the world’s leading Mixed Reality studio, reached out to the agency, it faced an all-too-common problem. It employed some of the world’s most talented artists, designers, and technologists to produce content for wearable/mixed reality devices – but no one knew who they were.
Led by visionary founder Todd Eckert, Tin Drum produces Mixed Reality content, a similar experience to what Augmented Reality delivers, but through an emerging class of see-through display devices, blending a uniquely dimensional form with the real world. The audience member dons a headset to view content that is presented seamlessly in their space. Tin Drum performances connect people and stories in ways that go beyond anything that has ever been possible in traditional mediums, enabling richer and more profound experiences.
By fall 2021, live events, performances, and art exhibits had slowly started coming back. Notably, the famed annual London Design Festival (LDF) announced its plans to return in September as well. Tin Drum seized on the opportunity to announce it would debut a groundbreaking new installation, Medusa, in The Raphael Court at the Victoria & Albert Museum, as part of the LDF. Produced in collaboration with acclaimed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, Medusa is an eminent visualization of architecture in a Mixed Reality medium, examining the interrelation of nature and art.
For The Pollack Group, this presented a wonderful opportunity to reposition Tin Drum through strategic messaging and media relations. As with all companies seeking to become a brand and amplify their values, they first had to identify their value proposition. The agency also had to consider audience biases and mainstream consumers’ misunderstandings of the difference between Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality.
In partnership with our London-based Worldcom Public Relations Group partner, JBP, we executed a media relations campaign that not only brought global attention to Tin Drum’s transcendent performance at the LDF, but strategically rebranded and repositioned them across earned and social media.
The #1 Social Casino game, Slotomania, chose to celebrate the 170th Anniversary of the California Gold Rush with a bus tour of its own throughout California. The bus tour was a creative way of bringing attention to Slotomania and tie it in with a milestone of note. The tour included special events, prize giveaways, VIP dinners, and a “gold rush” scavenger hunt where the well-known Twitter account @HiddenCash hid $2,000 in Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego for the public to find. The agency worked in coordination with Slotomania’s parent company, Playtika, to facilitate a week-long radio promotion campaign in the three markets, inviting listeners to download the app and participate in the scavenger hunt. As the bus passed through each city, the agency reached out to local media to garner further attention and coverage for the bus tour. The overall marketing effort brought out hundreds of eager participants in three different California markets and secured almost 100 million impressions across traditional media outlets including radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, and print publications.
When Mitchell International, Inc., a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the property & casualty claims and collision repair industries, planned the debut of its newly developed solutions at its Program Freedom Experience, in Palm Springs, we did advance work to build enthusiasm for the demonstrations (including this dedicated site) and were on hand to make sure influencers got the full experience. The key message: Mitchell’s cloud-based imaging, estimating, scanning and repair solutions are based on openly shared data—in sharp contrast to its competition, which was charging fees for joining its closed network as well as for each packet of data exchanged. The attendees included top trade press and customers, who all came away understanding that Mitchell’s solutions benefit the industry at large. The result: the competition was forced to change its game and try to catch up.
When a 7,000-square-foot axe-throwing venue, Kick Axe, opened to the public in the New York Metro, the agency was retained to highlight the venue’s experiential entertainment edge. In a lodge-like lumberjack-themed bar atmosphere, guests can experience what it’s like to throw hatchets at a wooden bullseye -- as entertainment, of course -- complete with beer, wine and malt beverages, plus a photo area. To garner media attention, the team challenged journalists to come and throw the hatchets for themselves and partake in the fun ambiance. For those that hesitated, the team basically offered a demonstration in-studio. The media outreach to local and national press netted more than 723 million media impressions, including The New York Times, Time Out New York, Metro, Mashable, Patch, and BKLYNER.
Heart disease has become the #1 cause of death for women. It takes a village to raise awareness that early detection screenings can save lives. Everyone Has A Heart Foundation’s “village” included partnerships with a major health institution, a cardiologist spokesperson, health care networks, local community clinics, women’s groups, religious institutions, and the collaboration of civic, business and community leaders to spread the word within their own spheres of influence. We created a Women’s Heart Day Health Fair, which offered free screenings and educational seminars. Notably, we partnering with the LA Unified School District to distribute more than 450,000 Valentine cards for children to bring home to their mothers, urging them to get heart screened. Shortly after, LA Metro came on board as a marketing partner.
An Earned Media Relations Campaign That Paid Off The Community Water and Power Community Credit Union (WPCCU), originally established for employees of a utility company, needed enhanced community brand awareness and visibility in order to expand its customer base. We conceptualized and executed creative experiential events: “Moolah Madness” was timed around tax day on April 15, and contestants could win all the cash they could catch in a minute inside a money machine; “Cold Hard Cash” was timed around the hottest days in the San Fernando Valley – Labor Day weekend – and contestants had to melt ice sculptures with their hands to find the cash frozen inside. And because new members can include those who need an adult co-signer, we also organized job fairs for high school students scheduled around graduation and “Homeruns-4-College,” a Little League home run derby that awarded scholarship money for 21 local students.
The Santa Monica Pier, the West Coast’s last remaining pleasure pier, turned 100 years old. Its rich history conjured up nostalgia of a bygone era. When called upon to awaken memories, our agency brought it all back by engaging the surrounding community as well as national and international tourists as part of the celebration. We launched a nationwide online and offline media blitz focusing on the iconic pier’s legacy and its value for future generations, as well on a series of celebratory events such as the SideShow at the Pier, Schools Out!, La Monica Ballroom Redux and Centennial Day, to gain exposure and get a myriad of stories out about the pier. Social media outreach alone netted an estimated 3 million impressions plus 400 million media impressions.
Perhaps the most storied romantic road in American history, Historic Route 66 had an official start in Chicago, but no official end; rather, numerous disputed ends. Multiple organizations, including the Route 66 Alliance, the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation and the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked the agency to organize a campaign and event to finally give recognition that the official end of Route 66 belonged to the iconic Santa Monica Pier. The Pier and Route 66 used history to their advantage as a way to engage local community members to rally for the preservation of these landmarks. A parade of 66 vintage cars drove down the Pier, where dignitaries unveiled a replica Route 66 sign, marking the official end of the route.
Making a film for a green cause requires an imagination…and talent. Long before it became common practice to crowdsource for talent online, we tapped social media to invite filmmakers around the world to enter Rain Bird’s Intelligent Use Of Water competition for the best short films that would portray the urgency of the global water scarcity issue. The experiential campaign included a microsite and digital communications to engage Millennials on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. We tapped into online forums for filmmakers. Grassroots efforts included street teams sent to 40 schools nationally to promote the competition to students, film professors, and with the American Film Institute and American Cinema Foundation. We received 87 film entries in three months, showed finalist films at a guest-only LA event and awarded monetary prizes for top winners.
Shopping for healthy food products at the grocery store can be challenging, due to the overwhelming choices and often conflicting nutritional information. With the introduction of Eaturna’s chef-created, prepared food products, the agency was challenged to cut through the clutter of the competition, and create rapid brand awareness for Eaturna foods in one neighborhood as a trial. The “Eaturnalize your Neighborhood” experiential product launch focused on word-of-mouth marketing, signed pledges committing to healthy eating habits, “Partnership for Healthy Neighborhoods” street teams driving consumer trial, family-focused community events and partnerships where Eaturna food got tasted. Within 60 days, the entire neighborhood had been reached one-on-one and pledged to eating healthy.
When the city of Beverly Hills, renowned for its special glitz worldwide, turned 100 in 2014, it wanted to celebrate in a big way. A block party was staged on Rodeo Drive, creating a family-focused experiential event replete with a commissioned birthday cake by agency client Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel, created in partnership with famed pastry chef Donald Wressell of the Guittard Chocolate Company. The staggering 4,000-pound chocolate cake that depicted Beverly Hills City Hall and Rodeo Drive served 15,000 people, which generated hundreds of millions of earned media impressions as well as social media mentions. To build up momentum to that day, we “seeded” media stories, planned mini events, held a cake-tasting preview for media, showed off with a 3-D model of the cake design and shot a video of the “making-of-the-cake” — a time-lapse video that wowed viewers around the world when released.
The Brita Water Filter System, a portable water filter system from The Clorox Company, is a household name today. But back when it first entered the market, public confidence in tap water was at an all time low. Clorox retained the agency to pilot test the product in Southern California, with the goal of changing the behavior of bottled-water-obsessed consumers. Through an experiential sampling program and a specially designed “Brita Water Cart,” managed by a “Brita Water Patrol” that showed up where bottled waters did — at sports events, marathons, home shows, trade shows, etc. — coupled with our national media campaign focused on health and wellness, sales increased by 26 percent in nine months. Our product launch campaign had unleashed the powerful “word-of-mouth” tool.
Crucial.com, a division of Micron Consumer Products and a leading online retailer specializing in computer memory upgrades, needed to increase awareness of their do-it-yourself memory upgrade as an easy solution for computer problems that plague consumers on a daily basis. In Phase 1, we utilized consumer survey research, satellite and ground media tours, media mailers, infographics and aggressive media relations strategies, to speak to the computer-induced frustration and stress that results from an underperforming computer, with the easy solution, of course, offered by Crucial.com. In Phase 2, the agency commanded audience attention through creative campaigns such as “Love Your Computer”, “Get Tough on Your Computer”, and the nationwide search for the “Official, Unofficial Office Computer Go-to Superstar” – and resulted in over 100 million media impressions.
National Public Gardens Day was all about fostering public programs, resources and educational initiatives to instill the importance of environmental preservation and landscape water conservation. In partnership with American Public Gardens Association (APGA), the agency created an annual National Public Gardens Day to inform of the vital role of APGA’s more than 500 gardens and arboreta in promoting environmental stewardship, plant and water conservation and education. On-the-ground agency partners were tapped in five markets to stimulate local interest and support a national media outreach program. On the pre-celebration day a Satellite Media Tour was launched together with a government outreach program and an expansive social media component. The result was a staggering. The 782 million media impressions promoted ecosystem management and the efficient use of water.
With more than 2.5 million men and women serving in the armed forces and more than 4 million family members, the troops and their families depend upon the USO for critical programs and support. While the USO thrives through donations from major corporations and strategic partners, the agency, as their agency of record, saw an opportunity to tap an under-represented source of income through grassroots individual fundraising. Events such as Barbecue for the Troops, (leveraging the quintessential summer backyard barbecue), and Dance for the Troops, targeting school dances and New Year’s galas, were designed to mobilize individuals into throwing fundraisers in their local communities. Each campaign was supported with media relations, strategic partnerships, and organizational outreach.
Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Greater Los Angeles (MAWLA) needed to reconnect with its community and foster new marketing relationships and asked the agency for new concepts. We launched a 60-day campaign, entitled A Season of Wishes™, with experiential and visual elements, called “Wish It Blue,” (the Foundation’s signature color). We did a city-wide alert of the “blue” with a flip of a “virtual” switch turning major Los Angeles landmarks “blue”, including the famed Pacific Ferris Wheel, the Santa Monica Pier, the Queen Mary and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. We created an “influencers” group, the Circle of Wishes, to expand the campaign. MAWLA’s individual heart-wrenching kid-wish stories were spread across the media, with reporters interacting with the children and their families, capturing the stories live on local broadcasting.
The challenge for Luxe Hotels was to design an experiential and lifestyle synchronized communications platform that was workable for both Luxe Hotels (branded properties) and L.E. Hotels, a collection of premier independent hotel properties worldwide, across 31 countries. Multi-channel digital communications streams had to work in concert with each other regarding overall positioning and messaging, and needed to be dynamic by design, addressing different audiences from various angles. The programming was designed to be foundational and sustainable, as the brand expanded. We implemented an overarching brand platform and specific programming per business unit, that included a Brand Share of Voice and Consumer Engagement as well as Partnerships and Quarterly Engagement, Influencer Marketing and Special Promotion programming that would be tied to seasonal happenings, news cycle or opportunistic events.
Bob Evans Farms (BEF), a leading producer and distributor of refrigerated breakfast and dinner convenience food items, retained The Pollack Group (TPG) in 2016, initially to leverage the brand's philanthropic "Our Farm Salutes" (OFS) campaign, which entailed providing meals and donations to programs that support the military, active-duty veterans, and their families. In addition, TPG secured a partnership with The Gary Sinise Foundation, producing a variety of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring actor, activist, and director of the Foundation, Gary Sinise.
In support of OFS, TPG conceived the idea to paint the original Bob Evans Farms barn, an iconic symbol in Rio Grande, Ohio – purple, representing the color of all military branches. The purple barn visual, attracted significant media attention from regional news, military media, and food trade outlets. Results from data indicated an uptick in favorability perceptions for the BEF brand.
Following the media success of OFS, BEF expanded the program in 2021, utilizing TPG for its Heroes to CEOs (H2C) program. TPG focused on the H2C’s 2021 and 2022 winners to garner regional and national media relations. The agency booked The Today Show in November 2021, highlighting Ryan Onda, winner of H2C, among numerous podcast interviews, local segment appearances, and more. In addition, TPG penned a MAT release on how military service prepares veterans for leadership business roles, which resulted in over 180 million impressions.
The OFS program laid the groundwork for a broader FY22 Breakfast Innovations public relations campaign. TPG leveraged editorial media interviews to encourage Life Hackers and Young Achievers to try BEF new breakfast solutions and encourage repeat purchases of BEF grocery food items. Creative concepts were crafted and implemented for BEF news hook creation, disruptive event(s), and strategic influencer partnerships.
TPG also developed and implemented an “always on” PR plan that increased household penetration for BEF grocery items. To further engage with consumers interested in BEF refrigerated breakfast items, TPG conducted a survey that polled over 1,000 working Americans to better understand their breakfast preferences, before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings were favorable to BEF and the success of their heat-and-eat products were distributed in a MAT release, securing over one million impressions.
TPG arranged for BEF and the Gary Sinise Foundation to join forces again, released a series of new PSAs, and offered Gary Sinise as a source on various national news segments. Sinise detailed the hardships veterans have as they acclimatize back into civilian life after service, and how the Gary Sinise Foundation, as well as BEF, were working to improve their conditions upon returning home. In addition, Gary Sinise was invited to speak on top-tier media outlets such as FOX News, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Yahoo Finance, and KTLA.
TPG played an integral role in increasing BEF’s overall brand awareness and household penetration by leveraging elevated earned media impressions, resulting in an ROI of 2.40 for BEF’s Q1 and Q2 in 2022 alone, as well as a netted a $1.79 contribution per dollar spent on PR efforts.