An old-school PR tactic that still works

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

13M_Barrel0036When we were planning the celebration of the filling of longtime client  Beam Inc.’s 13th million barrel of bourbon, we had realistic expectations of the media coverage we would receive. While we thought the milestone was obviously impressive (they were the first distillery in history to achieve such as mark), we feared the media in Kentucky might not come out to rural Clermont to cover the event. Adding to the challenge was the fact that 13 is an odd number, not like 10 or 25 or 50. (Hey, no one celebrates their 13th anniversary.)

Because of this, we decided to do something we haven’t done in a while: develop good-old-fashioned B-roll of the filling and send it out.

Armed with a single camera, the JSH&A team and the internal Beam team busied themselves creating an engaging and budget-friendly video of Fred Noe, master distiller and Jim Beam’s great-grandson, along with his son, Freddie, filling the barrel while a crowd of dignitaries watched on. When they finished, off it went to local Kentucky affiliates. No satellite feed, no slates; just good images and sound bites.

What happened next, as they say, is history and exceeded all expectations. Not only did the Kentucky network affiliates use it (even though the day before they said were doubtful they would because “no one uses B-roll anymore”), more than 100 stations from around the country did too. (110 to be exact, but who’s counting?) Each one offered great exposure for a terrific milestone.

Lesson learned? “Old school” B-roll with the right story, the right images and the right sound-bites can and will still work. TV, like everyone it seems, needs good content. So if appropriate, take a chance, take some time and provide it.