groundhog day

PETA's Media Relations Win Groundhog Day as Animal Rights PlatformHere’s a a fantastic model of an organization linking its issues to a major news event to generate headline attention.

Shortly before Groundhog Day, PETA took on the Punxsutawney groundhog club, heralding its call for groundhog (and more broadly, animal) rights via a blog post and press release. And PETA advocates went one step further to suggest that Punxsutawney Phil’s annual weather forecasting responsibilities be taken over by a robot.

PETA says it’s wrong that Phil is subjected to the bright lights and crowds related to the Feb. 2 tradition. Event organizers downplay those concerns and insist that Phil is beyond fine, living better than other groundhogs in his climate-controlled environment.

An extremely active conversation blossomed in comments to the blog post. And, even more significantly, major news outlets like NPR, the LA Times and the Christian Science Monitor picked up on the controversy. At this moment, 9:23 am on Groundhog Day, a Google search on “peta ‘punxsutawney phil’ ‘groundhog day'” generates 43,000 results! PETA rules.

Kudos to PETA communicators for realizing there are few days (any others?) when animals are scheduled to make the headlines and acted on it. In connecting Phil’s rights with a national event, they secured widespread mainstream and niche media coverage of animal rights issues at little or no cost. Phil’s in good hands!

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Photo: oygirl.files.wordpress / CC

Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Media Relations and Press, Nonprofit Communications | 5 comments
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Make Sure Your Communications Aren't Like Groundhog Day -- Same Old, Same OldNot the one where Punxsutawney Phil climbs out of his hole to predict when spring will arrive (saw his shadow today, so keep the fire going), but the movie — in which reporter Phil Connors (my fav Bill Murray) gets stuck in a small town and wakes up to the same day again and again. Same old, same old which soon becomes nightmarishly boring.

Ultimately, the endless repetition works out well for Phil Connors, but it won’t for your organization. Make sure your messages intersect directly with what’s important to your network right now. The same old, same old will generate closed eyes and ears, which are hard to open up again.

Last night’s Super Bowl ads drove this point home to me big time. The ads, which have become a focal point in their own right, were nothing more than recycled hash from previous years. They didn’t touch what’s important to people now — protecting their families in the economic crisis, family, traditions, hope, innovation, faith…

Here’s the thing: The bigger the gap between what’s vital to your base, and your messages, the more you’ll alienate them. Because you just don’t know (or care) who they are. Kind of like a bad marriage.

If you’re sensing a gap between your org and your base, then start reaching out to discover what is vital to them, so you can ID where your org can meet those interests and needs. Do it now, before the marriage is over.

P.S. Yes We Can! When a powerful tagline is joined to a compelling mission…nothing is impossible! Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!


Nancy Schwartz in Audience Research, Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications | 0 comments
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