I have this thing about challenges; I love them. And I certainly got one in early 2011, when our Dallas marketing firm was asked to find a way to use the Super Bowl to get attention for a client that is an outplacement services company. The campaign we put together is an annual reminder that media relations efforts still are extremely valuable when they convey ideas that are new, timely and interesting.
Sanjay Sathe is the CEO at RiseSmart, which helps get laid-off workers into their next jobs as quickly as possible. He gets the credit for suggesting tying the company to a Super Bowl angle. In thinking about RiseSmart’s role in combating unemployment, we wondered whether there was a correlation between jobless rates and the Super Bowl. Sure enough, we found a study by an economist from the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago that uncovered an unexpectedly strong correlation: In four out of five Super Bowls during the period studied, the victors were from the city whose metropolitan area had the lower unemployment rate.
Quirky Correlation Attracted Huge Interest
To my surprise, the study had not been touched in years. After digging a little deeper through the unemployment rates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, it appeared the formula held true in 16 of the past 20 games.
We took these stats and created a fun, tongue-and-cheek news release that was a media bonanza for RiseSmart. Television stations, print media and online outlets took the theory and ran with it, but not without recognizing RiseSmart as the source of the information. The 2011 TV mentions have their own highlight reel.
Infographic Added to Story’s Momentum
Before 2012’s Super Bowl, we took the PR initiative a step further and created an infographic to accompany the news release. Again, the media published numerous stories pointing to the quirky correlation. CNBC’s story featured two reporters debating their stat-filled prediction strategies to pick the winner.
The RiseSmart correlation had the news media talking again this year. The San Diego Union Tribune’s story was among the first, and it was followed by coverage from CNBC and others. And on Super Bowl Sunday, when the lights came back on and the game was decided, the winners were from the city with the lower unemployment rate. (As you might imagine, I was cheering for the Ravens.)
In the end, here's what media relations is all about: presenting information that’s new, timely, interesting, supported by facts, and sure to pique people’s interest. And if it’s about the Super Bowl, well, that doesn’t hurt.