Consumers look to product reviews as trustworthy insight on whether a purchase decision is worth making, so when a positive product review is written by a journalist, brands benefit from the influence of that media outlet on readers as well as the earned media attention that boosts search visibility. But the reality is there are not enough journalists to cover all the products that companies want reviewed, and unless that outlet is solely dedicated to reviewing products, there needs to be an interesting story angle other than “this product is great” to convince a reporter that it’s worth writing about.
Genuine Thermos used a press release titled, “Genuine Thermos Brand Shipping the Best Hot Coffee Overnight Across the Country,” to promote a clever and bold PR stunt tied to their product that earned them highly coveted positive media attention needed to persuade consumers. The release highlighted their “Overnight Coffee Challenge” Facebook contest, where winners would receive a freshly brewed cup of coffee shipped overnight in a Genuine Thermos with the promise that the coffee would still arrive hot and fresh despite spending hours in transit. Even the journalists who covered the story had to admit it – the stunt worked. Here’s why:
Content syndication as a discovery tool for journalists
Writer Liz Clayton of Sprudge.com, who participated in the challenge, wrote of her experience as a coffee journalist receiving an endless number of odd pitches and what made Genuine Thermos stand out in a good way:
“Working on the front lines of coffee journalism, one gets a fair amount of strange emails from publicists. Do I want to try bouillion-style cubes of coffee? Not really. Do I want to sample some “naturally caffeinated” fruit juice? Might take a pass on that. Do I want the Thermos corporation to, in a fit of truly inspired stunt-istry, overnight me a hot Thermos Brand Bottle of Ritual Coffee from San Francisco to New York to prove how awesome their Thermoses are at keeping drinks hot? Hell yeah.”
Clayton includes a direct excerpt from the press release in her article as well as a link to the website where it was syndicated and found. It’s a lesson for communicators to make note of: telling a story that is genuinely interesting and amplified by content distribution creates more opportunity for earned media.
Storytelling with an exceptional news hook
In a piece titled “I Drank a Cup of Hot Coffee That Was Overnighted Across the Country” Robinson Meyer, associate editor at The Atlantic, wrote of the stunt:
“It succeeded in both senses: The coffee was still hot by the time it reached me, and I am writing about it now…It was, however, an extraordinary PR stunt—well-executed, conceptually simple, and bubbling with zeitgeist. And I accepted the hot coffee for reasons beyond my love of roasted arabica.”
Meyer was so intrigued by the concept that he even traced the coffee’s temperature history from the moment it was brewed to when it arrived at his office to determine the quality of the thermos.
Other qualities worth noting:
A hi-res photo is ready for republishing and adds a human element to this story by capturing the artisanal, hand-crafted attention that Genuine Thermos gives to its product.
Including Facebook and Twitter handle with hashtag drives readers to a desired action, triggers social sharing and the implied links that increase search visibility.
Bold subheads break the text apart into bite-sized pieces that are easier to read.
Kudos to Genuine Thermos on a successful PR stunt and a great press release!
Have you seen an awesome press release that should be featured on Content We Love? Email Shannon Ramlochan at firstname.lastname@example.org