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It’s Time for the East-West Shrine Game!

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If you know us at all, you know that one of our busiest times of year is “Shrine Game Time,” and it’s starting now! Tickets for the East-West Shrine Game go on sale Friday, December 1, and we have been gearing up for this game for months already.

The Shrine Game is the longest running college all-star football game in the United States, and this is its 93rd year! The game is driven by the desire to support Shriners Hospitals for Children in its mission to help children in need of expert medical care. More than 1 million children have benefited from Shriners Hospitals’ unique way of providing hope and healing, regardless of the families’ ability to pay for services.

Each year, we accompany the players and coaches to the Shriners Hospital Tampa so they can meet some of the patients, play with the kids, dance, sign footballs, play basketball, and in general have a ton of fun. This day shows them why the East-West Shrine Game is “More Than Just a Game.”

Click here for tickets to the January 20, 2018 game.

Et Cultura Festival – Interactive Sessions, Music, Art, Film, Craft

et cultura public relations_news

Et Cultura Festival wrapped up last week, and we wanted to share just a few of the interesting things we saw and experienced over the five-day festival’s myriad activities. It was definitely a whirlwind week and since we do public relations for the festival, the few weeks before were pretty hectic as well, but we had a great time and we’re already looking forward to next year.

et cultura news channel 8 daytime morning show pr

Some of the highlights that we were able to catch:

SEEDS interactive sessions at the Morean Center for Clay were phenomenal. There were several presentations throughout the day, all related to gardening, plant-based diet, sustainable living. It was incredibly interesting and enlightening, plus some of the presentations were interactive. One presenter, Kim Campbell, Director of Recipe Development and Culinary Education for PlantPure, Inc., even did a recipe demonstration where she prepared 3 giant pressure cookers full of Ethiopian butternut squash and lentils with brown rice. She made enough to go around the entire room, and the whole room smelled incredible. Not only that, the dish tasted amazing, so we are definitely going to try making some recipes like this in the future.

seeds festival community public relations

Another highlight of the SEEDS interactive sessions included live gardening demonstrations by some of St. Pete’s local farmers, which sparked some of the Pinstripe family to go home and start gardens. The weather was perfect and the crowd was thick for these sessions, which means a lot of people are interested in growing food.

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A panel discussion called “Prescribing Food as Medicine” provided some fascinating insights into how diet directly affects physical health and illness. One fascinating case in particular was a diabetic patient who was very sick changed their diet to plant-based and no longer had to use insulin. Other panelists discussed the affects of diet on heart disease, obesity, and even cancer.

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Lots of interested folks at the SEEDS interactive sessions all day long.

et cultura festival film public relations

The Future City interactive sessions at Station House featured a wide variety of topics focused on economic development, supporting local businesses, affordable housing, social justice and more.

Small Is Big discussed the importance of championing locally owned and operated businesses and using entrepreneurs, citizen volunteers, events and artists for community development as well as an economic driver.

Et Cultura St. Pete

What Is “Affordable” Housing These Days? featured speakers representing the city, developers, the tiny house movement and others. The discussion highlighted the needs for a variety of places to call home that we can afford and want to live in as our city grows, continues to attract young talent, and needs to support a service-oriented workforce and address the changing needs of an aging population.

Et Cultura St Pete

Perhaps the most interesting discussion on Thursday was Inclusive Cities featuring social justice advocate, Weldon Angelos. The panel discussed ideas for building a more equitable system in our community and beyond for citizens who break the law, serve their time, and want to re-enter society. Weldon Angelos story is fascinating and infuriating. He was sentenced a mandatory 55 years in prison for selling a few pounds of marijuana while possessing a firearm – a sentence so extreme that his judge, unable to go below the mandatory minimum, called on the president to commute Weldon’s sentence. Barring such a presidential commutation, taxpayers would spend more than $1.5 million to keep Weldon behind bars until he was 80 years old. Weldon’s sentencing provoked unprecedented public outcry. Twenty-nine former judges and prosecutors filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief beseeching Weldon’s sentencing judge to declare the sentence unconstitutional. At sentencing, Judge Paul G. Cassell called Weldon’s punishment “unjust, cruel, and even irrational,” comparing it to much shorter federal sentences given to repeat child rapists and airplane hijackers. Judge Cassell wrote a 67-page opinion urging President Bush to commute Weldon’s sentence to 18 years or less. Unfortunately, none of these efforts proved fruitful until recently, when President Obama commuted his sentence– after Weldon served 13 years in prison.

You can see more of Weldon’s story here:

On Friday we were fortunate enough to join a group of educators for the RADICAL SCHOOLS interactive sessions. The keynote speaker was Geoffrey Canada, who flew down from Harlem, New York City to discuss his work with the Harlem Children’s Zone and the philosophy of his educational approach. He and his colleagues seek to change the lives of inner-city kids, prevent youth violence and foster community development through education reform. The model encourages educators to meet students where they are and use their own interests and needs to create active participation in their education and future.

One really cool element of the RADICAL SCHOOLS interactive sessions was a portable skate and BMX half pipe. They set it up right in the middle of 2nd St between 1St Ave and Central in downtown St. Pete, closed off that street, and had professional BMX riders and skateboarders doing tricks. It was definitely a good way to get every kid’s attention, and a huge crowd of both children and adults gathered to see the talented athletes doing cool tricks and defying gravity.

et cultura radical schools event public relations

Of course, we also caught a few of the concerts, films, art shows and the makers market – Et Cultura is a week of what is best in St. Pete!

Our public relations efforts for Et Cultura included media relations and leveraging our relationships with local television stations to book morning shows for Et Cultura founders and other interesting interviewees. It’s a win-win situation, as the hosts get to meet great people who are making cool things happen in our community, and our clients have the opportunity to discuss their events and draw more attendance to their events on television shows with thousands of viewers across the Tampa Bay area. Next time you have an event or news-worthy business happening, get in touch with Pinstripe and we can help you get the word out to our community, both in television and in print.

East-West Shrine Game Wrap Up

media planning media buying

Saturday, January 21, 2017, marked the 92nd annual East-West Shrine Game and Pinstripe’s sixth year managing the advertising, social media, public relations, media credentials, pre-game and much more. While preparation for the game takes a couple months, the week leading up to it is an action packed time for us, and we love every moment of it!

 

Kicking off the week with a visit to the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa with four busloads of all-star football players, coaches, team managers and other staff is incredible. We couldn’t think of a better way to remind ourselves and these young rising star football players what the Shrine Game means.

Monday am – We start the day by visiting the Game Office at the Tradewinds Hotel on St. Pete Beach. We check in with the staff there, pick up the most up to date rosters and practice schedules, and just say hi to all of our wonderful colleagues that make the Shrine Game possible.

Monday lunch – We collect and organize all of our media interview requests for the players and coaches. These have been arriving via text, phone call, email – any method the press can connect with us, they do! Our goal is to make sure the press gets what they want, but also that the players get exposure for the week – they’ve worked hard to get here and deserve some recognition for that.

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Monday afternoon – Head over to Shorecrest Preparatory School football stadium, where the East Team practices. We set up our media table, where we distribute rosters, schedules, and check-in writers, photographers, and videographers who are approved for credentials to access the practice field and press box at the game. We even hand out mints and sunscreen, because we’re just thoughtful like that. You’d be surprised at how many people take advantage of both. We take photos and video of practice and post to all social accounts. After practice we pull players aside for in-person interviews with media, and give them instructions for radio and interview call-ins they will need to do in the evening. Later in the afternoon, we head over to St. Pete High football stadium for West Team practice, where we do the same thing that we did with the East Team.

Monday night – We all meet to go over media requests, recap the last two days, look at photos/video, and make sure we’re on track for the rest of the week. The whole team is always checking in with each other to make sure all bases are covered and to see if anyone needs help with anything.

Tuesday – Thursday – These days are much like Monday – we attend practices, connect with media, and make sure that social is alive with photos, updates, and fun, interactive posts to keep our fans engaged and make sure they can follow what is going on. Some of the players’ families are not able to attend the game, so our posts are their way of seeing what is going on during the week.

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Thursday, Friday, Saturday mornings – Prior to the week, we booked morning shows for the executive director of the game and the Shriners Hospitals patient ambassadors, so we attend these morning shows for support and guidance, as well as to connect with the patient ambassadors. This is our first time meeting them and it is always a pleasure!

Friday evening – We attend the banquet! The Shriners, players, coaches, and the Shrine Game team come together at Tropicana Field for a night filled with food, awards, and celebration. The executive director of the game, Harold Richardson, presents the Pat Tillman Award. Pat Tillman was a professional football player who walked away from the game after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to join the U.S. Army and fight for our country. After just three years in the NFL, Tillman turned down a multi-million dollar contract offer from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was killed during a mission in Afghanistan in 2004. This year the award, which recognizes the player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service, went to Air Force safety, Weston Steelhammer.

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Saturday – GAME DAY! Although kickoff is at 1pm, the Pinstripe team is at The Trop at 10am to set up the press box, go through the production schedule with the Rays video team, and get ready to provide last-minute media credentials at will call. We manage the pre-game pageantry, in-game video and graphics, half-time show, sideline photography, press statistics, MVP voting, the final game press releases, and more! It feels like we fit a month of work into a single day that lasts well into the night. It is a tremendous sense of satisfaction as we look out over the dark, empty Tropicana Field where just a few hours before, a hundred young football stars burst onto the field to play for their futures, for their families, for many of their own reasons, but most of all, for the millions of Shriners Hospitals for Children patients who benefit from the game.

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Good Marketing Never Forgets the ‘Old Year’

Tampa Bay marketing firm
The New Year is upon us, and with it comes a sense of a “fresh start” — especially if the past 365 days haven’t been particularly good. However, before we can measure progress, we must have an idea of how far we’ve come. Therefore, it’s essential to record the results of past marketing initiatives and reference them from one year to the next.

Understand that every advertising campaign or customer/prospect outreach effort is very much like an experiment. Not only are you interested in results, you’ve got to control for variables.

Necessarily, there will be a “best guess” component to your experimentation based on experience, industry knowledge and instinct. Additionally, some variables will be beyond your control while others are completely invisible to you. But every campaign requires standard, basic decisions. To avoid repeating the same mistakes and to steadily improve results, pay attention to:

  • Audience demographics – Age, gender, ethnicity, income, location … you should have a profile of your target audience before your campaign begins. Say, for instance, 75% of your target audience is male but 50% of the leads generated are female. Such over-performance with women might suggest untapped demand. Yet you’ll never know unless you record who received your messages in the first place.
  • Campaign timing – From “back-to-school” sales for children’s clothing stores, to tax season for CPAs, every industry has a time of year that’s expected to bring in more business. But is it better to advertise a month before the event or just a few days in advance? And the days of the week that you advertise could make a difference in response as well. Will your Monday email blast get lost in the clutter from the weekend? Make identifiable changes from one campaign to the next, and compare results.
  • Types of communications (email, direct mail, radio, social media … etc.?) – The tricky part about comparative analysis of media is that results can be radically different from one to another, yet actual effectiveness could be almost equal. Take for example, the email blast that costs next to nothing per contact, but also brings in very few qualified leads, versus a creative (and expensive) direct mail campaign that nets a much higher percentage of actual sales. It’s only when you try different approaches over time that you can determine which has the greater positive impact on your bottom line.
  • Frequency of contact – One thing we hear commonly hear from clients is that they tried a certain type of advertising and got no response. This often means they mailed a postcard or sent out an email blast—one time and out of the blue—and no one noticed. But people get bombarded by thousands of messages every day. To make an impression, you usually must repeat yourself. However, there is a sweet spot—before diminishing returns on your advertising investment—that you won’t find until there’s a documented history to examine.
  • Tone of the communication – Did your advertising seek to get a chuckle, tug at someone’s heart strings or imply that life as we know it rested on the prospect’s buying decision? Most business owners think they know their customers—and they usually do—but it’s risky to make blanket assumptions about the mindset of others. Certainly, you want to stay within the boundaries of your brand image, but occasionally changing the tenor of your messages may provide valuable marketing insight.

As you go from one campaign to the next, isolate a specific aspect of the communication to change.  You don’t want to change too much. Otherwise, if results are greatly impacted, you won’t know which factor was at work. Plus, if you’ve been getting reasonable ROI from your marketing budget, you don’t want to risk a disastrous result by suddenly changing too much. Your expectation should be incremental improvement. Sure, you might discover an advertising formula that exceeds your wildest hopes, but in the meantime, plan on adjusting and analyzing your marketing plans as long as you’re in business.

 

Ready to kick off your marketing new year? We are!

Et Cultura Festival Wrap-Up

et-cultura-wrap-up_newsAbout a month ago the first inaugural Et Cultura Festival took place. The festival was the culmination of four creative minds, a city in the midst of tremendous cultural growth, and a collective of people from a myriad of spaces, from technology to politics to art to education to craft brewing. The timing, it seemed, was perfect. The City of St. Petersburg was ready for this.

Lea Umberger, one of the 4 founders of Et Cultura Festival, at Station House St. Pete.

Lea Umberger, one of the 4 founders of Et Cultura Festival, at Station House St. Pete.

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Colin Lyman, one of the four founders of Et Cultura Festival.

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Joel Malizia and David Allison, two of the founders of Et Cultura.

Pinstripe Marketing got involved back in June when we met Joel Malizia, one of the founders of Et Cultura. We invited Joel into our office to chat and he captivated us with the promise of Et Cultura – our creative souls could not resist a festival full of art, music, film, and interactive. We decided to sponsor the festival in a big way – by doing pubic relations and media relations in the months leading up to and during the festival. So it began. Wrapped up in the whirlwind, we were in awe as excitement built around the festival. It seemed as if everyone we knew had heard of Et Cultura, either from us or someone else. We were a part of something big in a city we are proud to call home, something that, deep down under, we all knew was coming.

We also saw some great connections and decided to get some of our clients involved. Shorecrest Preparatory School sponsored part of Et Kidtura, a section of the festival just for kids. Our friends at ADM Two, a trade show fabrication and design firm, sponsored many of the beautiful banners and signs for the festival.

We attended as many as the interactive sessions as we could, and were wowed by the local and national presenters that stood before us and discussed their experiences and thoughts on technology in design, entrepreneurship, and even art. The final keynote speaker was South By Southwest’s own Catlin Whitington. After his presentation a panel discussion erupted about how to keep the momentum of Et Cultura going, to make it a signature of St. Pete.

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Panelists for the Metathesis St. Pete discussion after SXSW keynote speaker Catlin Whitington’s presentation.

The art and music started on Friday with a graphic design exhibition curated by HYPE Group and held in the beer garden at Green Bench Brewery. DJ Sugarbear was spinning soul music that had us all grooving, and in general it was a great atmosphere. The four Et Cultura founders, Lea Umberger, Joel Malizia, Colin Lyman, and David Allison had their official ribbon cutting ceremony right there by the artwork, and later we all headed down to see local band, The Hip Abduction.

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The four Et Cultura founders cut the ribbon at the graphic design show.

Saturday’s art exhibition, Heroes and Villains, was curated by Black Amethyst Gallery and featured dozens of local artists of many different mediums depicting their own versions of heroes and villains from literature and film. The makers festival took place as well, so there was plenty to see and do. A spectacular projection mapping display was held every hour along with music on two stages and several films being screened. It was an action packed weekend.

We are so glad to have met Joel on that day in June and to have been able to participate on the ground floor of this festival. We worked with our media contacts to connect the founders with the Tampa Bay Times, Daytime Television, and several other local news outlets who showed an interest in Et Cultura. We are certain that this interest will only build as the founders build their list of featured presenters, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. We can’t wait to see what Et Cultura has in store for our city next year!

View some of the articles and news clips from Et Cultura:

Tampa Bay TimesLineup for inaugural Et Cultura festival announced

St. Pete Patch: Shorecrest Welcomes Et Cultura: A Festival of Creative Culture

WTSP 10 News: New Et Cultura festival to celebrate St. Pete culture

Creative Loafing: Photos from Et Cultura over the weekend

Daytime Television: Et Cultura Festival Brings Art, Music, Film, Makers, and More to St. Pete

Green Bench Monthly: Et Cultura Festival Showcases Vibrant St. Pete Art, Film And Technology