Archive | Clients & Campaigns RSS feed for this section

Braving Tornado Season for Warmer Waffles

4 Nov

Faces and personalities are my favorite part of traveling.  The take-off makes my stomach drop and sitting in a middle seat while a stranger tries to land a 14-ton machine that’s barreling toward a concrete runway at an obscene speed hasn’t really done much for my nerves over the years.  Airports are usually the same: you check in, you take off your shoes, you put your shoes back on, you sometimes get patted down for looking at a security guard the wrong way (I try to avoid eye contact), and then you’re off to board and start that whole 14-ton machine/obscene speeds thing.

But don’t get me wrong when I say I love people while traveling – I would not classify myself as a “chatty” seatmate.  While I’m open to a mid-flight convo, I’ve learned there’s a big difference between plane-mates when taking a vacation flight to Jamaica versus riding a 6:00 a.m. mid-week business class flight into San Francisco.  One features passengers pulling 4 oz. flasks of coconut rum from their carry-on bag (and offering you a swig) while the other has a sea of laptops and Wall Street Journals blocking your view of the nearest exit.  One is chatty and one is not.  I’ll let you guess which is which.

In most cases, the best personalities while traveling tend to unfold after landing – when you’ve stepped off the crowded plane and out the sliding airport doors.A co-worker and I boarded a plane to Tennessee last week for two events that I was excited and proud to be a part of.  Our client, Avery Dennison, pledged $10,000 of school supplies to fifteen publically chosen schools-in-need across the nation.  Two of the schools receiving donations are located in small communities in Tennessee, each boasting less than 15,000 people.  My co-worker and I were warmly welcomed into each elementary school gymnasium for the heart felt presentations.Gloria and I had never experienced southern hospitality until we arrived in these little towns.  After flying and driving through tornado weather to our first destination in Manchester (14 tornados were spotted that day), we stopped at a local Waffle House for a late dinner.  It was the waitress’ last night working at the Waffle House and she introduced us to her son and husband, then spent our entire meal chatting with us about her life and home in Tennessee while we ate waffles and drank chocolate milk at the counter of the well-worn diner.  Leaving the restaurant was like saying goodbye and good luck to an old friend.  We realized after that first night that the friendly persona of Tennessee was just warming up for us.

We stayed in three cities over three nights and fell in love with the open honesty we received from people we’d never met.  The school principals were tremendously accommodating , students filled an entire gift bag with letters and crayon-drawn pictures of appreciation for the donation, and hugs or high-fives from students, parents and staff were literally around every corner.  Hotel workers told stories about their families to enrich their restaurant recommendations and we had a fabulous time with the locals from Nashville on our last night there.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, yes, even the drivers on our multiple mini-road trips made hours of driving a cakewalk.

The cultural flavor that defines neighborhoods, cities, and even states is what I believe makes traveling such an international passion.  With its incredible rolling hills and stunning hilltop estates, Tennessee is a beautiful state, especially this time of  year, but I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the memorable citizens we met along the way.  And, like most travel-bug infected souls, it’s always the personality of a place that makes me actually want to brave the skies for another round local hospitality, wherever I may land.

– Anna Gamel

Along for the I-way Ride

3 Oct

Recently, I had the opportunity to tag along with the Neighborhood All-Stars camera crew while they filmed the I-way videos about mobility options available throughout Idaho. (I-way is a growing statewide system that connects people in Idaho through an exciting mix of transportation options, giving Idaho an economic and quality-of-life advantage, while helping keep our state clean and beautiful.) I should also admit, I coaxed my husband, Tad to accompany me as well. I told him it was a business trip to Sun Valley, which it was true, with just a few stops before we got to Sun Valley and a quick trip to Driggs afterwards. The first leg of our trip was an overnight stop in Twin Falls; in the morning we were up at 5:00 a.m. and headed to Shoshone, Idaho where we interviewed vanpool riders that rode the van from Shoshone to Hailey and Ketchum.

In Shoshone, we met Mary, a local resident of Shoshone who rides the vanpool to Hailey, about an hour drive. She spoke to us about her easy accessibility to the vanpool, the friendly vanpool riders and how much she enjoys sitting back and relaxing as she rides to work. She doesn’t have to worry about traffic and she also has the chance to close her eyes and catch up on some sleep if needed. Mary also mentioned that riding the vanpool saves her significant amounts of money –  she doesn’t have to worry about spending money on gas, car check-ups, and new tires. I forgot how much gas money alone adds up, Mary was spending close to $400 a month on gas alone.

After we filmed Mary we drove to Ketchum and filmed Nathan, a young landscape architect who also rode from Shoshone (same as Mary!) to Ketchum. I was caught off guard meeting Nathan because he was younger then I had expected. I pictured people who rode the vanpool middle-aged or older, Nathan was in his late twenties. Nathan started riding the vanpool when the gas prices started to climb drastically a few summers ago. The vanpool gives extra life to Nathan’s marriage, when he gets home he isn’t tired and cranky like he used to be. He has extra energy to do chores around the house after work, when normally after driving for an hour; he would go straight to bed exhausted. I feel the same way after driving twenty minutes home, I couldn’t imagine an hour long commute.

Speaking of long commutes, after we wrapped up filming Nathan, we had to pack it up and head to Driggs, roughly about 250 miles away. I was extremely proud of myself for making it in 3.5 hours, although he will never admit it, Tad was impressed too. We had the night to explore Driggs since we weren’t filming until the next morning. We went to the notorious Spud Drive-in (did you know it was featured on the Food Network program Diners, Drive-ins and Dives?), It was a cool location, surrounded by the Teton Mountains and the food was amazing.

Bright and early the next day we were at it again. We met Tim, the Executive Director for Teton Valley Trails and Pathways. He informed us of the importance of pathways and trails for rural communities. He spoke about the positive economic impact pathways and trails; they not only help to bring in tourists but provide locals with easy access to recreational activities. Utilizing the pathways to get to the mountain trails helps reduce carbon footprint. I never thought of directly riding my bike to the Boise foothill trails, Tad and I always drive to the foothills, park our car, and then go riding. Listening to Tim was an eye opener for me, I started to think of ways that I could change my habits to be more environmentally conscious.

After wrapping up Tim’s interview, he introduced us to Kim and her two kids. Kim, a Communications Specialist and an avid biker lives in Driggs and frequently rides her bike with her family through the Teton Valley. She spoke about the importance of trails and pathways, especially with today’s rising epidemic with children’s obesity, Kim makes her children’s health a priority and having readily available biking paths and trailways is a benefit for her and her family. I was impressed with Kim, she is a wife, working mother of two and still has time to play and incorporate exercise into her children’s lives. We said goodbye to Kim and the kids, jumped in the car and headed home to Boise for a few days rest before we started on our travels again.

Our next stop was the Gem County Senior Center in Emmett, Idaho, where we visited with senior citizens and how they utilize the shuttle to function in their daily lives.  I met two of the cutest ladies, Zeda and Peggy who frequent the Gem County Senior Center almost daily. They use the shuttle for their every day living – including trips to the grocery store, hairdressers and the bank. Zeda and Peggy mentioned how much fun riding the shuttle was, that it was the most thrilling part of their day. Their driver, Jerry really makes their trips fun and exciting. The Gem County Senior Center is a great place for all of them to come together, have lunch and play bingo. It was obvious that fun times don’t stop as you get older – at least not with these ladies!

During my time on the road, getting to know all the different types people throughout Idaho that utilize alternative mobility was a blast. Although it wasn’t a lot of time, I learned a lot of about what I can do to help the environment and myself.  I’ve searched out mobility alternatives for my commute to and from work. I’m considering joining a vanpool to reduce my own driving time.. I’m constantly telling my friends about my experience and hopefully they will reduce their carbon footprint, save some money, and help support I-way’s mission to improve mobility options in Idaho!

– Gloria Miller

National Campaigns: Big Risk Can Equal Even Bigger Gain

19 Jul

One of the most rewarding moments in public relations is when the hours of account work, numerous calls and emails behind the scenes, and countless early mornings spent with a triple shot Americano payoff. When everything finally goes public and your client’s campaign is a success, there truly is no better feeling in the world of PR…

(Warning: What follows is not an advertisement, but may blur the editorial guidelines a bit. What can I say, I’m biased.)

Avery Dennison started in the middle of the Great Depression when young entrepreneur Stan Avery manufactured the world’s first self-adhesive labels in a tiny loft in Los Angeles. Seventy-five years later, the international brand is celebrating a milestone anniversary with the Give Back to Schools charity initiative. Giving back to those communities that made its success possible, Avery Dennison launched a program in the beginning of July with an online contest offering ten deserving U.S. schools the opportunity to win approximately $10,000 of premium Avery-brand school supplies.

Now, less than a month later they have created public buzz by generating stellar media hits and successfully pushing out the program through state education departments, industry outlets and social media forums. Going from a trade-only PR approach to a national consumer campaign is no easy feat and with a little help from a team of experienced publicists, their contest has gone wide with over 90,000 votes, and 268,000 page views just since the site launch (and these numbers have been tripling each week)!

The contest, scheduled to run through August 31 involves everyone from teachers and school representatives to parents and students, allowing you to vote online at Avery Dennison’s Give Back to Schools site . (You’ll have to excuse the blatant plug for my client, but after weeks of eating, sleeping and breathing Avery you can’t blame me for a little partiality). So pick your favorite school and vote to win them some valuable loot!

– Samantha O’Lea