PR case study: A leap day for the books

What do superheroes, LeVar Burton, superb American Single Malt whisky, historic cemeteries, Ram Nation and Richmond’s mayor all have in common? They’re all part of an epic PR case study from Hodges’ leap day adventures.

Leap day was a busy day for a few Hodgers, including myself, when I started the day celebrating history in the making with the Enrichmond Foundation at Evergreen Cemetery, followed by celebrity sightseeing at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, where I delivered whisky to the actor who taught millennials to read. To top it all off, one of our resident Hodgers-in-training made moves at halftime during a VCU basketball game. From our expert community relations to our local media relations savvy, we did it all on leap day.

Here’s a recap of some of our leap day work, which helped take me from some crazy unknown number, to one degree of separation from Mr. Reading Rainbow.

The unveiling of Historic Evergreen Cemetery’s master plan

“Write the Vision; Make it Plain” was the theme of Historic Evergreen Cemetery’s master plan unveiling that took place at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. On a frigid, but sunny morning, members of city council, the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and the community along with stakeholders and the relatives whose family members are laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery showed up to celebrate the reveal of the master plan. During the event, members of Evergreen’s planning team and Enrichmond’s Executive Director John Sydnor shared remarks along with Mayor Stoney. The Times-Dispatch and Channel 8 captured the morning and Channel 6, VPM , The News and Advance and others later reported on it.

GalaxyCon Richmond

After Evergreen, we shifted gears and headed to GalaxyCon Richmond to not only coordinate local media interviews with celebrity guests for our client but introduce Mayor Stoney to his namesake and deliver the first-of-its-kind-whisky to a fan for another one of our clients, Virginia Distillery Company.

We started media relations for GalaxyCon, including coordinating celeb interviews with local outlets in an effort to generate buzz about the multi-day event. Leading up to the big weekend, Liz at XL102 screamed after chatting with William Shatner, Matt from Q94 freaked out when he got to talk to Cooper Andrews from “The Walking Dead” and John from 8News at 9 had a fan-girl moment when he had Sam Jones (“Flash Gordon”) and Barry Bostwick (“Rocky Horror Picture Show”) on air. 

Back to GalaxyCon, I linked back up with Mayor Stoney’s Executive Assistant Laura Harrison so we could take Mayor Stoney to meet his namesake, LeVar Burton. The stars aligned at GalaxyCon, because CBS 6 showed up just in time to capture this story.

And this wasn’t the only coincidence that mapped out perfectly…  

Whisky among the stars

After two separate events with Mayor Stoney in one day (does that make us besties?), let’s shift our focus from one Levar to the next. 

Hodges also found a way to bring Virginia Distillery Company into the mix. The distillery produces stellar whisky that speaks for itself. Over the years, we’ve worked with the American Single Malt whisky distillery tucked away in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, helping to tell their story through national media relations. A few weeks ago that story, and some whisky, made its way to LeVar Burton. And he loved the Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky. 

When we found out he was going to be in Richmond at the end of the month for GalaxyCon, we knew we had to get some whisky his way. I had the honor of delivering him one of the first bottles ever of Courage & Conviction, Virginia Distillery Company’s flagship American single malt that has been aging since 2015. Burton was ecstatic, Virginia Distillery Company was ecstatic, and well, as you can see in the lead photo, I was pretty ecstatic, too.

Kroger delivers on ‘Threes for Feed More’

©2020 Scott K. Brown Photography, Inc.

And later that day, several Hodgers headed to the Siegel Center where our long-time client Kroger was welcomed to center court at the VCU Rams men’s basketball game to present Feed More with a $5,000 check in front of a sold-out crowd. The donation is a result of the “Threes for Feed More” campaign where every three-point shot leads to a donation to Feed More from Kroger. The final result? A win-win: Rams won 75-51, and Feed More will be able to provide 20,000 meals to those in need.

Go, Nora, go!

We’re not sure who’s happier: Nora or Lindsay?

To top it all off, at the very same VCU game, our very own Lindsay O’Bar and her Hodger-in-training Nora took to the court to compete in the annual Virginia 529 Diaper Derby. The competition was fierce, but Nora and her rosy cheeks led her to sweet, smiling victory.

Amanda Colocho

Amanda joined Hodges in 2015 after earning her undergraduate degree in mass communications and public relations from VCU. Since then, she’s been flexing her media relations, content strategy and social media muscles on accounts like Virginia Distillery Company, Motorcycle Law Group, Hilldrup, Kroger, Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Swedish Match’s Umgås Magazine.

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