Save Matt: Philips and the American Heart Association II

How the Save Matt Campaign Came Together and Was Promoted

Tuesday’s post was about how to use public relations to drive a cause-related marketing campaign drawing on the experience of the American Heart Association, RoyalPhilips Electronics and their Save Matt campaign. This posting will talk about how that promotion came about and outline some details and major elements.

The Save Matt promotion offered the American Heart Association $500 (up to a maximum of $20,000) for the signature of each celebrity who signed Philips' paper mannequin training mat (called 'Matt') during the run of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

At the end of the Festival Matt will be auctioned on eBay for an additional donation to the AHA.

Philips sponsored the Village Lift credentialing area. A variety of Philips products were on display in the area, called the Philips Simplicity Lounge. Among those products were some of the company’s automated external defibrillators. Celebrities who came into the lounge were asked to watch a demonstration of the defibrillators and were informed that if they signed Matt a donation would be made to the American Heart Association.

About 95 percent of those who were asked to sign Matt did, says Lolita Verny of Philips’ PR agency, Manning Selvage & Lee. Matt was signed by Kristen Bell, Billy Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, Tara Reid (see above), Tom Arnold, and others.

The promotion developed organically based on Philips experience at the 2006 Festival. Last year Philips also sponsored the credentialing lounge and demonstrated their automated defibrillators. Celebrities informally signed Matt.

Going into the Festival this year, Philips formalized the promotion. They contacted the American Heart Association, with whom Philips enjoys an existing relationship. The AHA agreed to participate and helped generate press materials.

In terms of the mechanics of the press campaign Philips put their release on the wire announcing the Save Matt cause-related marketing campaign about 10 days before the Festival started. As celebrities signed Matt, a Philips photographer snapped photos. Manning Selvage & Lee will send photos and press materials to select media outlets. After the Festival ends and Matt has been auctioned on eBay, Philips will issue another release.

The Save Matt campaign has already generated some welcome media coverage. Tom Arnold, who signed Matt, brought with him a crew from the Tonight Show into the Simplicity Lounge.

The Simplicity Lounge featured two other cause components. Philips’ Sonic Care line did a promotion benefiting Operation Smile. Celebrities were also offered a free compact fluorescent light bulb if they signed a pledge to install it in their home. Most did.

Given the amount of swag celebrities get at the Sundance Film Festival it was a small, but green gesture.

What was Philip’s goal for Save Matt? “Philips is looking to continue to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and potentially lifesaving equipment such as defibrillators,” says Ian Race, manager, public relations, corporate communications for Philips Medical Systems. “Having anyone stop by to ‘Save Matt’ helps to raise awareness and we want people to understand that there are easy to use tools to try to save an SCA victim. If the campaign helps to raise money for the AHA, it's all the better.”

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