Feld Entertainment (Feld) is the global leader in live family entertainment with more than 50 years of experience wowing families across the world with shows like Monster Jam, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Marvel Universe. As Feld’s various shows travel the world, the organization hires local PR firms to build and implement PR campaigns. Feld hires PR firms to drive earned media coverage promoting its events in the markets that host them.
ComGroup’s public relations team conducted secondary research in the form of an audience analysis to gain understanding of Feld’s target audiences for Monster Jam. The team then conducted a market analysis of entertainment-focused journalists, publications and broadcast shows. The result was a database of information the team could use to target earned media opportunities.
Pulling data from the audience and market analysis, the PR team created a campaign focused on family-facing publications and media outlets that promoted family-friendly entertainment events.
With six weeks before opening night, the PR team created a six-week plan, which outlined the PR goals for earned media coverage for the campaign. The goal for this show was to earn twelve media feature stories for Monster Jam. The six-week plan included the media outlets pitched, the angle pitched to each outlet and a list of special events planned for the campaign. Since this was the sixteenth year for Monster Jam to come to Little Rock, the PR team was challenged to find new ways to promote the performances.
The PR team planned to prioritize media targeting based on strong male readership, listening and viewing habits. In this market, that audience consumes sports talk stations, business publications and radio programs with male hosts. We targeted a few family and lifestyle magazines to reach mothers, the secondary audience. The PR team used relationships with local and statewide media to earn interviews on radio and TV programs that covered every county in the client’s geographic target market.
The PR team planned to use monster truck drivers for all media interviews and developed talking points for each interview. The call-to-action in every interview was for families to purchase tickets to the show and take their children to see the performances at Verizon Arena.
ComGroup’s work with Monster Jam began in February 2018 and ended two months later in May. The Communications Group immediately began implementing the campaign according to the six-week plan. The first tactic was to write a news release to support media pitching for the team. The news release was distributed to the target list of 74 radio, TV, print and digital media. Immediately following distribution, the PR team began conducting customized media pitches to journalists, on-air talent and show producers. The PR pitch focused on earned media clips based on the news release and highlighted the opportunity to interview the show announcers and drivers once the competition arrived in Little Rock. When pitching malefocused media, the team offered male drivers for interviews. When pitching female-focused media, the team offered females drivers for interviews. Pitches to every audience included facts about the science behind each truck, as well as athleticism of drivers and the skills required to be a successful monster truck driver.
Once opening day arrived, all PR transitioned to on-site live and look-live interviews at the performance venue. ComGroup’s PR team pitched local media and coordinated with the production crew and arena staff to organize early morning PR (EMPR) on the arena floor, which included truck stunts, truck races and live interviews. The PR team developed talking points for each media interview, and the drivers received media coaching before engaging with journalists.
An obstacle the PR team had to overcome during live interviews was the presence of two non-Monster Jam owned trucks on the dirt. As a result, we had to work with the driver and journalist to avoid filming those two trucks. Each driver did his/her best to avoid the trucks, but when in close proximity, the reporters positioned themselves in a way to avoid filming the other trucks. Another obstacle during EMPR was the ratio of eligible drivers to be interviewed compared to the number of live interviews scheduled. Drivers are not part of interviews prior to 6 a.m., so working with the media prior to the day of EMPR and made maximizing the effectiveness of the limited number of show announcers available for interviews much easier until drivers arrived. Once the drivers arrived, the announcers continued to participate in interviews.
ComGroup relied solely on public relations and earned media. Throughout the campaign, the PR team secured 17 TV segments, 2 radio interviews, 2 feature articles in a bi-weekly newspaper, 1 blog post, 2 newspaper mentions and 4 online mentions. The total count for earned media clips tallied to 28 stories for a potential reach of 464,977 people. One of the performances quickly sold out, with others close to capacity.