From Winfield, Kansas to the Today Show
Let’s be honest. A quick glance at today’s top headlines could leave anyone feeling like they need a hug. From Donald Trump’s daily rants to economic crises, our summer news feeds could use a little pick-me-up. Fortunately, everyone loves a party.
It was a typical Wednesday morning of media monitoring, when we ran across a story featuring Loren Wade from Winfield, Kansas (population 12,000) who would be celebrating his 103rd birthday on Saturday. It doesn’t take a PR pro to realize the significance of this milestone, but when you learn the birthday boy is still working full-time, our pitch radar was off the charts.
[Tweet “Pitching & Securing the Today Show”]
Knowing time was of the essence (we only had three days!), we rallied the communications team and devised our plan.
The first step? Getting the pitch out the door in less than an hour. Morning editorial meetings had already taken place and we were late to the game. Luckily, with our nimble team and stellar client counterparts, we blanketed strategic contacts from every PR girls’ wish list and hoped that our inspiring centenarian got the celebration he deserved. After all, who doesn’t want the Today Show on a guest list?
Within hours, we received interest from numerous outlets validating our hunch that people would love Loren’s story as much as we did. However, no amount of experience can prepare you for the excitement of confirming that the Today Show is sending a crew. To Winfield, Kansas (population 12,000). In less than 48 hours.
We admit it; the whole office heard our screams when we got the green light. But then the reality of quick coordination set in.
Over the next two days, our to-do list was mighty but totally worth it. After hours spent on the phone and dozens of emails later, we could finally toast to Loren from afar.
But who knew he would become such a celebrity? That spike you see below is the volume of Google searches for Loren’s name on the day the Today Show segment aired:
Once the Today Show segment ran, our inboxes were flooded (and this was on a Sunday). Everyone wanted to share Loren’s heartwarming story. We had interest from (no joke): ABC News, Huffington Post and People that led to further placements in Time and Yahoo!
Here are some of the tweets from the media outlets that covered his story:
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 27, 2015
— People magazine (@people) July 28, 2015
When asked why he is still working at 103, Loren consistently replied, “I like being occupied.” Well, pitching and securing a national story that went viral certainly kept these two K&C’ers occupied but unlike Loren, we’re still planning for a potential retirement (some day).
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