Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

Meijer’s Magic January 5, 2014

Filed under: marketing — thisgirlsarah @ 7:35 PM
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Before the buzz about snowmagedden and before the Colts beat the Chiefs in the wildcard game of the playoffs, there was another buzzword in Indianapolis: Meijer.

WTHR showcases empty shelves at Meijer.

WTHR showcases empty shelves at Meijer.

You should know that Meijer is a Walmart-like store based out of Michigan. More important background to their PR story is the fact that on Thursday, Colts fans were facing the threat of a blackout game. The NFL elected to extend the deadline to sell-out the game until 4:30 on Friday, at which time Meijer swooped in to save the day by buying 1200 tickets and the blackout was avoided.

Obviously, their name was in every news story instantly. Not only did they prevent a blackout, they also donated the tickets to military families (which melts my heart). Naturally, when the time came to stock up for the winter storm, many Indianapolis residents turned to Meijer over other grocers to support the company that saved the playoffs.

Surely, the bread would have flown off of the shelves despite them buying the remaining Colts tickets, but this move had good timing. People needed to go to the store and the Meijer brand was at the top of consumers minds. It was good timing. I anticipate that Meijer will continue to be at the top of Indiana consumers minds in the future for their respectable donation.

Did more people choose Meijer over any other store this winter storm? Maybe, or maybe not, but I know their name definitely means more to this Indianapolis resident than ever before. My vote? Brilliant move. Expensive, but brilliant. What do you think?



Lessons From a Young Professional January 19, 2013

If you browse through my past posts, you will notice the earliest entries tend to be more academic because this blog was originally an assignment for a class during my senior year of college. After graduation, I took a more opinionated approach where I share my opinions of things going on in the PR world. After this post, I will continue to share some opinions of PR, but am excited to be able to share insight to my first year working in the world of public relations, more specifically, social media.

I look forward to sharing these experiences and lessons with you and hearing some of your own. After 9 months on the job, I can promise you I have experienced both success and my fair share of “lessons learned.” I look forward to sharing my journey with you. To start, let me tell you about how I got where I am…

Things I learned during the last two years (AKA post-graduation, AKA life):

  1. Everything happens the way it is supposed to, even when it’s not what you expected.

We had so much fun watching the Colts during the pre-season at Lucas Oil Stadium!

I lied. I only learned one thing, but that one thing was key to sanity on the brinks of what recent graduates call the freshman year of life. Life, the period after graduation where you are expected to find a career and kiss three month long breaks goodbye.

I live in Indianapolis. That’s 4.5 hours from my family and childhood home in St. Louis, 9 hours from both of my grandmas and 7.5 from my Alma mater. This city was not on my list of dream cities to find a job.

I work in social media for a service company. I didn’t even know I was interested social media until my post-graduation internship. After discovering my passion for social media I made another unexpected transition from a demographic of children and moms to mostly male truck drivers.

Can't live in Indy without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

You can’t live in Indy without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

But isn’t it funny how things happen? For instance, of all the middle of nowhere places my boyfriend’s company could have transferred him to; they landed him in a city where I actually had potential to get hired. Ironically, all but one of the interviews I landed were in this city I never considered living, making it hard to ignore fate.

And so began the life I never anticipated but can’t imagine not living. I have the privilege of working for a great company that challenges me, allows me to travel and teaches me about, and even to cheer for, motorsports! In addition to work, I’ve found Indianapolis to be a very welcoming city. From sports to restaurants and everything in-between, this transition has been every bit of enjoyable and definitely fun.

Throughout my journey to this official start to life there were many people that offered their help, advice and listening ears. As I continue this blog and share my stories of my experience as a young professional in a new city, I hope that I can offer support to other young professionals embarking on their freshman year of life.


Two Super Bowl lessons from GM February 10, 2012

I realize I’m late on this topic, but if the NFL fans, players and sportscasters can continue replaying the Super Bowl, so can I.

Lesson #1

By now, the feud between GM and Ford is no secret. GM’s Chevy Silverado commercial that aired during the Super Bowl took a direct stab at the safety of its competitor, Ford. Here is the ad:

The ad runs for 38 seconds before any mention of their competitors. The funny thing is that even without the stab at Ford, it was a really good commercial. It poked fun at the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse and the fact that, as Zombieland proves, Twinkies will survive the Apocalypse (unless they go bankrupt). Why not leave it at that?

Instead, Ford has taken offense to the advertisement and formally requested that the video be taken down. According to the Wall Street Journal,

“In a statement, Ford said, ‘We do not agree with some of GM’s claims in their ad, particularly around durability. What’s important is that Ford is proud to be the best-selling truck in America for 35 years, the best-selling vehicle for 30 years and the only brand with more trucks on the road with more than 250,000 miles – demonstrating just how durable our trucks are in the real world.'”

As much as both parties would like to believe their advertisements had a direct impact on consumers’ choice in which vehicle they were going to purchase, the truth is, there are a lot of factors that drive that decision. Despite hurting their competitors feelings, this particular ad ranked 12th on USA Today’s Facebook Super Bowl d meter scores. Not too shabby.

Lesson #2

I had the opportunity to be in Indianapolis the weekend before the Super Bowl and visited the NFL Experience, presented by GMC.  I was really impressed with GMCs booth inside the NFL Experience- so much so that my boyfriend deemed me a big dork for how interested I was in their advertising efforts.

We were drawn in by a GMC girl who encouraged us to sign up to get a bracelet that allowed us to get three different NFL player’s autographs. The line was short so we said sure. We answered a few quesetions on an iPad about all GM vehicles. The questions attempted to identify what car we wanted, when we wanted it and would we like more information? Yeah, yeah… we just wanted autographs.

We then were handed a post card with two questions on it. We had to go read about the Yukon and Acadia to answer the question and receive our bracelet. I thought that was genius. They pulled us in with something we wanted, got our information and forced us to interact with the cars they had on display. Smart.

The autographs were in a larger tent because the line was so long. Here, the same promotion was going on as in the other area, but we got to skip it and turn in another card to see if we won a prize (we did not) and then waited in a short line to get our time splice photo taken (mine is here).

They then asked if we wanted to share our photo via social media. Uh… duh! I posted my photo to Facebook and Twitter using their iPads again. Instantly, I promoted GMC to everyone I knew. Smart.

We never got the autograph we did all the work for, but did have fun at the photo opportunity. Plus, we found James Laurinaitis in another area of the tent signing autographs and, being from St. Louis, it was more exciting to meet a Rams player than a Colts player.

I think GM had a great presence at the Super Bowl and even though the low blow to Ford was completely unnecessary, their advertisements that day, and at the NFL Experience, were successful. Or, maybe I’m just a social media/marketing dork.


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