Pairing of Online and Offline Efforts Yields Success for National Memorial Day Parade

By Megg Whelan & Garrett Marquis

Campaign Solutions recently partnered with Prism Strategy Group to add public relations strategy to our suite of services that are designed to provide our clients with online and offline tools to best achieve their goals.

One of our first joint ventures was the American Veterans Center’s National Memorial Day Parade and was a huge success. Our teams worked closely together to promote the parade and its online counterpart – Virtual Boots on the Ground – nationwide through email, online advertising, and earned media.

On the PR side, Prism rolled out its strategy in three phases over a one month period. The first phase focused on finding and pitching to the media the unique angles of the parade, especially how sequestration was impacting sponsorships and troop participation. The second phase featured parade elements such as the celebrities participating, the Virtual Boots on the Ground, and why the parade is a great way to honor America’s war heroes. The third phase was parade day—we ensured media featured the parade both on Memorial Day and the following day, including footage and interviews. Throughout the month preceding the event, we were able to generate both national and regional buzz. MSNBC, FOX News, Washington Post, CNN and other national outlets featured stories about the parade and several local affiliates in Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina and other states across the country. The parade was even mentioned in British news outlets!

Meanwhile, on the Internet side, Campaign Solutions played a critical role in saving the parade. In early April, we learned the American Veterans Center had lost a significant amount of sponsorship funding because of sequestration. As a result, they were faced with a difficult situation: either raise the additional funds in 72 hours or cut broadcasting the parade to troops deployed around the world from the parade budget. Our team went to work sending urgent emails to millions of Americans relaying the situation and the need to act immediately—and we were able to raise thousands of dollars to save the parade!

Once we knew the parade would go on as planned, we sent additional emails from radio host Laura Ingraham and actor Gary Sinise urging Americans to chip in money to cover the travel costs of active duty troops who wished to march in the parade and sign up for Virtual Boots on the Ground. We also used FaceBook advertising to create buzz in the social media world about the online component of the parade.

By coordinating our efforts, Campaign Solutions and our partner Prism Strategy Group were able to raise money and generate thousands of online signups to deliver a cohesive and effective digital presence for the National Memorial Day parade and help the American Veterans Center offer a great experience to veterans, active duty troops, and the patriots who came out to show their support and appreciation. We look forward to helping more clients coordinate online and offline efforts including syncing their message, amplifying their reach, and increasing brand awareness, to achieve all of their marketing goals.