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Welcome to the Coyne Exchange! This blog was created to promote conversation and new thinking about taking a more creative approach to both business and life! From Account Coordinators to the President and CEO, everyone here at Coyne PR has the opportunity to participate in our blog, offering opinions, trend insight, key learnings, or just something interesting! We hope to both inspire and be inspired as part of this process. Please understand that we will not be discussing any proprietary client related topics or information. Please stay tuned and keep an open mind -- it is the key to life! 

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Monday
May022011

A Change in the Car Show... err... Seasons?

As an automotive industry PR person, a few key events mark a year’s progression even more so than the seasons; the major U.S.-based international auto shows, key races like the Daytona and Indy 500s, major Concours events and for those involved in the automotive aftermarket, the SEMA Show.

SEMA Show 2008 Crowds

The reason for these events being the ones that keep us up at night are the expectations that go along with each.  Expectations from clients, media and consumers can be simply overwhelming.  The “arms-race” of activation has seen more and more elaborate displays of financial virility that many times can overwhelm the product showcased. 

In very recent times, we have seen vehicles suspended from ceilings, diamond encrusted booth-space, elevated viewing platforms featuring five-star chefs and five course menus.  Each of these often take the focus off of the reason the guests are in attendance and also put a substantial hit to anyone’s event/marketing budget. 

While I have not had the opportunity to work on an over-the-top activation like these, there have been instances where efficiencies were required and other activation alternatives have been searched out.  In fact, each time I attend an event of this scale, I have to wonder if the money spent was worth it.

A few years ago, we started hosting off-site events to compliment some of our clients’ activation at major trade and motorsports events to add another touchpoint to our game plan to further ensure our messages were received.  All of which were well received by both customers and media.  It really allowed for a great relationship building opportunity and for the PR team, a number of in-depth, feature story ideas throughout the year.  The off-site event provided the laid back atmosphere and time needed to have a deeper conversation to really understand what the media was looking for.

In the past two years we have moved away from any activation on the show floor itself due to the cost implications, relying solely on the off-site activation to engage the various stakeholders at the show… and it is has worked tremendously.  Hosting an event during the show, in a convenient location has removed the stress and unrealistic expectations from the planning process and allowed us to more clearly focus on the qualitative results rather than the quantitative ones required to achieve the desired ROI due to the lower cost of activation.

This year, at the NYIAS, I was fortunate to be invited to another company’s off-site event (who had no actual presence at the show).  I was finally on the receiving end of an auto manufacturer’s unveil at one of their NYC show rooms.  In the process I was able to realize all of the theories we had been living by for the past few years only substantiated by the feedback we had received.  It was all finally validated.  Watching the event unfold and what seemed like the tremendous success it provided via the media in attendance, dedicated audience, lack of competitors and assumed budget savings reminded me of the key points to keep in mind throughout planning your own off-site event.

  1. Keep in mind why you are staying away from the shows whether it cost savings, simplicity or need for privacy
  2. Make it easy for your key audience members, especially in getting to and from the event
  3. Leverage your assets to their fullest in the process, it’s a night for you, show off if you can
  4. Remember that as a PR person, it is still a press event, you are always on the record, the media expect take-aways and there does need to be some storyline, news-value or relevant tie to entice attendance

Keep those simple items in mind, and you may be well on your way to a cost-effective and memorable show activation like you never thought was possible.

Wednesday
Apr272011

A Royal Opportunity

The Royal Wedding is days away and it has completely captivated the media. The past month has been consumed by news surrounding Prince William and Kate’s nuptials – everything from who’s on the guest list, to what designer Kate Middleton will wear down the aisle. But where do our clients fit in?

 

This wedding is a PR professionals dream – It’s opportunistic PR. In the world of public relations, capitalizing on news is critical for success. Whether you’re thinking of ways for a spokesperson to comment on breaking news, or having your clients offer aid around a natural disaster, we must always be on our toes and ready to jump into the current media cycle.

 

The Coyne PR Pet Team knew there had not been any Royal Wedding media coverage that focused on pets, so why not get in on the action! One of our clients, Banfield Pet Hospital, is the largest veterinarian practice in the world and sees more than 5 million pets each year. We suggested they pull information on the number of pets named William and Kate, to see if there had been an increase over the past year.  What they found had us royally excited as we were able to go out to the media with news that cat ladies are looking for their prince…Prince William that is!  The research showed that:



  • The rate of cats named Prince William has more than doubled since 2009.
  • The name William has seen a surge in popularity this year and if the trend continues, there will be a nearly 70 percent increase the number of cats given the royal moniker in 2011.
  • The name Kate/Catherine is more popular for dogs than Will or William.  The rate of dogs named Kate/Catherine has risen sharply in 2011 and if it continues, there will be nearly 40 percent more dogs bestowed with the same name as the future Princess.

 

This definitely got the media’s tails wagging! Within two days, we’ve seen coverage from The Today Show’s royal wedding blog - The Windsor Knot, People Pets, CNN.com, Dogster and more!

 

The team was happy to break into the Royal Wedding media phenomenon and take advantage of the great PR opportunity. There is always a way to insert your clients into the news cycle, it just takes extra brainpower and creativity!

Tuesday
Apr262011

OchoCinco May Want to “Steer” Clear of This Career Move

Just like professional golfers, NASCAR driver’s get a bad rap as just average guys, not athletes. But when you take a closer look at what these “guys who make left turns for hours” go through during a three or four hour race, you may change your mind.

By the numbers:

  • Temperatures in the car often exceed 100 degrees, reaching as much as 170 degrees by the floorboards.
  • Drivers can lose 5-10 pounds in sweat during a race.
  • In a race, a NASCAR driver maintains the same heart rate -120-150 beats per minute for 3-plus hours - as a serious marathon runner for about the same length of time.
  • On straight-aways at 200 mph, NASCAR drivers in one second travel 293 feet, almost the length of a football field.
  • On turns, NASCAR drivers can experience 3 Gs of force against their bodies, comparable to the forces pressing down on shuttle astronauts at liftoff.
  • A study in "anticipatory timing" found race car drivers to possess the same ability to anticipate what was going to happen as a hockey goalie or a quarterback.

Source: (http://www.cnn.com/services/opk/driven/news.htm)

 I must admit that at one point in my life I believed that any man/woman could jump in a car and dominate NASCAR, but just looking at the physical torture these drivers go through, I would pay to see that “Average Joe” give it a shot.

Thursday
Apr212011

Standing Out at NY Auto Show

It’s always interesting to see how manufacturers compete to stand out at the NY International Auto Show, especially when it is the last of the major international shows in North America.

Well, Mini certainly raised the bar this morning.

The rumor/buzz began a few days ago when KISS was suspected to be a part of the Mini press conference scheduled for 10:05 a.m. this morning.

Rumor proved reality as the crowd began gathering at least 40 minutes prior; by the time the conference kicked off, it was jammed with hundreds of “fans” all interested to see just exactly what was going to happen.

Decked out in KISS makeup, Mini President Jim McDowell kicked off the conference, followed by the grand unveil on stage with KISS band members. Of course, there was a message behind the spectacle. As part of their “Mini Rocks the Rivals” initiative, Mini has customized four Mini Countryman’s - one stylized for each band member’s makeup/likeness and will auction each off in an effort to raise funds for UNICEF relief efforts in Japan and worldwide.

So the formula: create anticipation; align with an iconic rock band and tie to a causal effort all of which created the biggest splash of these past two days.

Monday
Apr112011

These are Riggin' Awesome!

So last week I attended the Mid America Trucking Show, one of the largest trucking shows in the US and let me tell you that it did not disappoint.

Aside from the sworms of attendees and brands there displaying everything from 18 wheelers to tractor lifts, there was an entire area dedicated to the one thing that excites me the most about these shows...tricked out Rigs.

No matter what show you go to, there are always some amazing rigs that come out and seem to surprise you.  Everything from a rig that was completely chrome coated to a rig dedicated to Pirates of the Carribean (fully equipped with an amazing paint scheme, map covered seat and ship's wheel steering wheel) was in attendance.

One of my favs was this one...a rig dedicated to Army football.    

       

 

But after seeing such amazing, well-done artwork, I began thinking that if there are beautiful vehicles like this out there...there must be ones at the other end of the spectrum.

After a bit of research, I have compiled (what I consider to be) the worst looking paint schemes and modifications done to some of the cars out there.  Feel free to let me know what you think or if you have any that top these.

 

#1 Turtle in a Half-Shell

Listen, you won't find a bigger fan of TMNT that me, but this is taking it a bit too far.

 

#2 Animal Instinct

The Yellow I could deal with...but the Pink?!...and a Zebra?!....with all the elegant and dominant animals out there (Mustang, Jaguar, Prancing horse)...why a Zebra?

 

#3 Herbie Fully Loaded

There is a difference between getting a car hooked up and overloading...this is a perfect example.  If you look closely, this bug has a frown face ha.

 

#4 Now that's Sharp

This guy must have been on a budget and sick of all the mess of having a white car...I can understand his pain...but, spray paint might have been better....Black is a bad call my friend...every little scratch will show up on that bad boy now.

 

 

#5 Road Overkill

No one likes to hit an animal while on the highway, it messes your ride and of course can cause injury to yourself and the animal.  Apparently, the owner of this vehicle finds the idea of a splatter to be a great one.

 

 

#6 Not Your Grandpa's ride...more like your Grandma's

This looks like my Grandmother's kitchen. Enough said.

 

 

#7 Fashion Faux Pas

I am pretty sure that a real Louis Vuitton bag costs more than this car.

 

 

 

 #8 DaVinci Code

Ok...this is kind of cool, however, if you are just a person passing by or driving next to this high-end ride...it looks like someone graffitied your car!

 

   

 

#9 Care Bear Mini Van

This ride looks like a rainbow exploded! It also looks as if it could take off at any moment...hardly think this is street legal.

 

#10 Federal Reserve

Why would you do this to a Porsche?! It is a gorgeous, fast and yes expensive ride...but when you paint gold bars on it...I think that depreciates the value a bit. This is so ridiculous it deserves two photos.

 

 

#11 War & Peace

I can't bash this one...it is too hilarious....ok one knock...When this tank fires it shoots out Hugs.

 

 

So when it comes down to it...lots of people do amazing and amazingly bad things to their rides.  At the end of the day, it is your car and you need to love what it looks like. So if you own a ride like any of the above and are happy with it, more power to you....but I won't be hitching a ride with you.