September 26, 2011
Coyne PR-Hard Rock International Campaign Celebrates Ringo’s 70th Birthday with Message of Peace & Love
By Jim Bucci
When queried during a 2008 television interview what he would like for his upcoming birthday, The Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr answered, “More Peace & Love.” Thus launched a campaign where Ringo encouraged everyone everywhere to say “Peace & Love” at noon their local time on July 7—the date of his birthday. To honor his 70th birthday, Hard Rock International offered to host a birthday celebration at its flagship café location in Times Square, inviting friends worldwide to continue the tradition of wishing Ringo “Peace & Love” on his birthday at noon.
To generate excitement with the press and the public, Starr’s team from Beautiful Day Media called on Coyne PR to help reinforce Ringo’s message of “Peace & Love” throughout the world. PR efforts also called attention to Hard Rock’s collection of iconic Beatles memorabilia and commitment to philanthropy.
With various celebrations and special moments scheduled to occur worldwide on July 7th in Ringo’s honor, Hard Rock aimed to up-the-ante and beat the competition by hosting the birthday boy in person with one of The Beatles’ most iconic and priceless memorabilia items on hand—the Magical Mystery Tour Bus.
“There were several components of the campaign that helped to make it successful—the strategic location of the event, the various birthday gifts given to Ringo, and even Ringo Starr himself,” explains Coyne PR account supervisor Meredith DeSanti. “The PR teams had several angles to publicize to various types of media. Most of all, it was really Ringo’s team from Beautiful Day Media, who pulled out all of the stops to make this event as impactful as possible.”
The Strategy: Celebrate Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday by wishing him “Peace & Love”: The genesis of Ringo Starr’s July 7th Peace & Love celebrations began in 2008 when during a television interview, the question “What would you like for your coming birthday?” was asked and he replied, “More Peace & Love.”
To honor Ringo’s 70th birthday, Hard Rock International hosted a birthday celebration at its flagship café location in Times Square. From its birth in London in 1971, The Beatles have been fans of the Hard Rock brand, maintaining a relationship for nearly 40 years via philanthropic partnerships, and numerous concert performances and appearances at Hard Rock locations worldwide. Friends throughout the world were invited as well to continue the tradition of wishing Ringo “Peace & Love” on his birthday at noon.
As part of the celebration, Hard Rock brought the famous Magical Mystery Tour Bus to the event, planted trees in Ringo’s name as a gift and made a video compilation filled with celebrity birthday and “Peace & Love” shout-outs. At noon, Ringo appeared outside Hard Rock Café New York joined by family, friends and fans, and led the crowd in one simple salute: “Peace & Love.”
Hundreds gathered in Times Square for the special moment, and Starr even broke through barricades and ran across traffic to greet his fans. People from coast to coast took part in the moment, saying the special phrase out loud, signing, posting it online, tweeting and more.
Once the event concluded, Coyne issued a press release to all national and local market publications and broadcast outlets, as well as pertinent reporters and producers covering celebrities, music, philanthropy, features and pop culture. Post event, photos of Ringo blowing out the candles on his cake were distributed.
“This campaign is an all-around great example of how to maximize an opportunity to the fullest, and it’s also a wonderful example of how teams can collaborate to achieve the best results possible,” says DeSanti.
The Challenge: Law prohibiting pre-publicity of outdoor events requires confidential media outreach program: With the New York event situated for success, a stiff publicity challenge arose—an unyielding Times Square crowd restriction law prohibited pre-publicity of any events outdoor. To drum up coverage and buzz, the Beautiful Day Media and Coyne PR teams had to execute a targeted and confidential pre-event media outreach campaign.
“Because of the crowd restrictions, it was imperative that the teams kept the event as controlled as possible, even utilizing human ‘placeholders’ for media in Times Square,” explains DeSanti.
PR tactics included a press advisory for select media, a one-on-one interview block and an on-site plan with precise roles for all team members.
The Results: Ringo’s birthday celebration lands coverage in top media outlets, national entertainment and news programs: The campaign generated more than 760 million consumer print, online and broadcast impressions, securing media placements in more than 1,000 outlets, including national coverage by The Associated Press, Reuters, Yahoo!, The New York Times, USA Today online and Pollstar Magazine.
Broadcast coverage ran on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates across the country. National nightly news programs on NBC and CBS and national entertainment shows “Access Hollywood” and “Entertainment Tonight” highlighted the campaign.
Secrets to Success: Read on as DeSanti offers more tips and explains why this campaign won Bronze in “Best Arts & Entertainment Campaign” at the 2011 Bulldog Awards for Excellence in Media Relations & Publicity.
- Be open for opportunities to expand brand exposure. “Look for opportunities that make sense for your brand,” she says. “With tons of Beatles memorabilia in Hard Rock’s collection and the great relationship between Hard Rock and Ringo, it made perfect sense for Hard Rock to be the official host of Ringo’s 70th birthday celebration.”
- As your event approaches, stay closely connected to team members. “Make sure that you are in close contact with all teams involved each day leading up to the event,” she advises. “Events, especially those with celebrities, can become chaotic very quickly, so it’s important to be prepared for all types of situations.”
- Become a team player. “Always be a team player,” she offers. “Often times, public relations professionals are managing events and initiatives, where several parties are involved. ‘Too many cooks in the kitchen’ is the common expression. It is extremely important to realize that everyone involved is working towards the same goal and should work as best as possible to get things done right.”
Winner’s Profile: A full-service public relations agency, Coyne Public Relations represents some of the world’s most prominent brands, including The Walt Disney Company, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Shell Lubricants, Medco Health Solutions, Inc., Mary Kay, The Campbell Soup Company, Kraft Foods, General Mills and Hard Rock International.