Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 5

"Grass Roots" effort pays off for NYC

A recent article in PR Week documented a unique Trylon campaign that received quite a bit of attention and worked well for our client.  The key was using creativity to make a point and to raise your organization above the clutter.

The case in point was New York City’s drive to be selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as the U.S. candidate city for the 2012 Olympic Games.  A close race had developed between New York and San Francisco, and Trylon had been tasked with demonstrating the large level of grassroots support for the Olympics in New York.

Due to previous scandals involving selection processes, cities were not allowed to directly contact the selection committee.  Instead, they had to rely largely on public relations and media reporting to demonstrate their level of commitment to the Olympic games.

What better way to show the level of grassroots support than to use actual grass?  The city and Trylon agreed that a prominently displayed lawn “sculpture” could prominently create a stir. 

A 50,000 square foot lawn in Bryant Park would be perfect for this sculpture, as several large skyscrapers surround the park and traffic helicopters routinely fly over it.  The park needed to be re-sodded anyway, so the event would cause no trouble in that regard.

Media and guests were invited to a rooftop overlooking the park a week before the decision was to be made in October.  While originally planned as a local event, the media coverage expanded to include national audiences as well.

The marketing and communications manager for NYC 2012 was quoted as saying that the publicity received from this and other Olympic Fever events may have helped turn the scales to New York, as the committee ended up selecting NYC as the U.S. candidate for the 2012 games.

The success of a PR campaign involves many things besides a simple creative idea.  The idea drives the campaign, but execution of the details surrounding the campaign is crucial to total success.

For instance, if there had been no media coverage of the park event, the committee would never have known of the grass sculpture.  Finding a good company to design and create the sculpture resulted in an appealing design.  Coordinating the activities with the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation was also essential.  Tying together all of the loose ends and meeting the goals of a campaign can be the biggest challenge to any marketing group.