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To see all the winners of the
2014 PR Daily Awards click here!
Best PR on a Shoestring
Gregory FCA survey reveals big change in U.S. travelers’ attitudes on visiting Cuba
Friendly Planet Travel wanted the U.S. public to know that its Cuba tours had opened American minds and hearts about the government and people of post-revolutionary Cuba.
Friendly Planet Travel
offers affordable travel to exotic locations. One of the places it goes is Cuba, opened to “people-to-people” travel by President Obama in 2011.
Friendly Planet had anecdotal evidence that Cuban travel had changed the minds of many of its customers about Cuba. The company wanted statistical backing for that impressionistic evidence, and a news angle that would create good publicity for a “controversial” travel destination.
Philadelphia PR agency Gregory FCA
was up to the challenge. Its low-cost campaign (less than $5,000), built on a survey of 423 travelers who had traveled to Cuba via Friendly Planet since 2011, won the Best PR on a Shoestring category in Ragan’s 2014 PR Daily Awards.
The survey’s goal was to find out how the trip to Cuba affected the travelers’ perceptions of the island nation. The findings:
- Almost half of the survey respondents said that before they visited Cuba, they viewed the Cuban government as a “repressive communist regime.” After returning, only 19 percent of travelers still felt that way. The trip changed the minds of 60 percent of the 423 surveyed.
- More than 80 percent of respondents indicated they would return to Cuba, the highest interest in revisiting a location Friendly Planet had ever seen for one of its tours.
- Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they are more supportive of ending U.S. sanctions on Cuba.
- Seventy-four percent said they went because they were “curious about what life was like in Cuba.”
Gregory FCA wrote a press release on the survey’s data that prompted 190 media outlets to pick up the story, generating more than 346 million impressions in only one week. Other results:
- The Associated Press article was shared on Twitter 504 times, creating 1.2 million impressions.
- The Huffington Post ran the contributed survey article, which had two links to the blog of Friendly Planet Travel—links that drove traffic and raised awareness of the travel operator.
- Gregory FCA booked Peggy Goldman, CEO of Friendly Planet, to speak about the survey on a panel at The New York Times Travel Show, attended by more than 20,000 people.
- The campaign strengthened Friendly Planet’s leadership of the exotic, people-to-people travel industry.
Congratulations to the Gregory FCA team: Greg Matusky, president; Alicia Buonanno, associate vice president; Abby Bedecs, account executive; and Caitlin Davie, associate editor.
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