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Case Studies

California Parks Companies

Poimiroo & Partners (P&P) was retained to increase publicity for Lassen Volcanic National Park, which – at the time – only received media attention when heavy snows caused the park road to close. P&P generated major feature stories in San Francisco Chronicle, Sunset Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, and elsewhere, generating so many calls that P&P’s client was unable to fulfill all the requests for reservations and urged P&P to stop further publicity.  P&P now assists the California Parks Companies with publicity at other operations, trains employees in media relations and marketing, and provides general marketing communications counsel.

One summer, P&P was called when advance bookings were lagging at Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Drakesbad Guest Ranch.  P&P quickly recognized the news angle within the story… namely that an antiquated, operator-assisted, rural phone system was preventing callers from making reservations at the remove lodge.  Pitching the idea that there are travel destinations where the phrase “can you hear me now?” doesn’t work, P&P was successful in getting a cover feature about Drakesbad in the world’s largest newspaper travel section, USA Today.  Unsold rooms at the guest ranch quickly filled through the following year!

Roaring Camp Railroads

When P&P began handling the advertising for Roaring Camp Railroads, the Santa Cruz Mountains attraction was using television ads that had been produced 16 years previously.  In the intervening years, eroded awareness had caused Roaring Camp’s walk-in visitation to decline 11.8 percent.  Within two months, P&P conceived, filmed, produced and distributed three new commercials with original scores for less than $12,000. Walk-in visitation that year increased 6.15 percent.

P&P was asked a week before Roaring Camp’s annual July 4th Frog Jump to generate publicity for the event.  Within two days, P&P had identified a story angle, prepared spokespeople and secured feature stories on local NBC and ABC news programs.

P&P proposed the concept of attracting an appearance of a full-scale replica of the popular children’s literary figure, Thomas the Tank Engine, and then contacted Thomas’ promotions company and secured one of the few appearances on Thomas’ first western tour, despite the company’s reluctance to add another apprearance.  P&P then promoted and publicized the Roaring Camp event, attracting 25,000 people, making it the most attended event in Thomas’ first national tour and generating a 16% increase in attendance at Roaring Camp.  This event was not as successful at other tourist railroads, several of which lost money on it.  The difference was P&P’s advertising, publicity and promotion.

Intel Museum

2001 was the first full year that P&P handled advertising and directed marketing efforts for the Intel Museum.  In spite of the high-tech industry experiencing a dramatic decline resulting in fewer business visitors to Santa Clara (the majority of the museum’s visitors), and the negative effect of 9/11 on travel and tourism, the museum experienced record high numbers of visitors.  Non-group visitor traffic increased, especially during off-peak periods.  The Intel Museum experienced its first 10,000-visitor month, breaking its previous record of an 8,000-visitor month.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding retained P&P to handle publicity for several projects. One was to garner media attention for the returning exhibit, Butterflies! Live butterflies were released on Sacramento and Reno morning shows as television anchors announced the “first butterfly of summer.” The exhibit received additional media coverage in these markets and was well attended throughout the summer, despite being a return attraction.

P&P handled media relations outside the Redding area for the grand opening of the Turtle Bay Museum in June 2002, for the opening of Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge in 2004 and for the opening of the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens in 2005. P&P directed media relations efforts leading up to the openings which included press kit development, story development, pitches to national and statewide travel writers and publications, and opening day logistical and media support. P&P’s efforts resulted in several Associated Press stories, travel features in the Sacramento Bee and on KOVR-TV (CBS, Sacramento), on the cover of Via magazine, in Sunset magazine, on Huell Howser’s California Gold series and in numerous travel briefs in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, and as far away as the Tulsa World, Florida Sun Sentinel and Boston Globe.

Yosemite Resorts

P&P has handled crisis communication, marketing strategies and publicity development for the Yosemite Resorts since 1999.  Among the many services provided to the company, we gained attention for Mariposa County by oordinating a week-long Mariposa/Yosemite special on Huell Howser’s California’s Gold (KCET-TV, Los Angeles). This series included eight programs including two hour-long Road Trip specials and has re-aired on KCET-TV and is now appearing on public television stations throughout California.  The exposure provided to Mariposa County has been extraordinary.  Most notably, P&P with partner Fortune2 Design Firm rebranded the Yosemite Resorts from the Yosemite Motels, creating a polished, professional look for the home-grown company and positioning it properly as the major lodging provider that it is in the Yosemite region.

Redding C&VB

The completion date for Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge in Redding was delayed for months, yet P&P kept major media interested in the story, playing them like a 10-pound salmon on a one-pound line.  Major feature stories were secured in Sunset, Via, the Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times and 183 other media for the opening of Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge.  The effect of publicity related to the opening of the bridge has been so strong that an expected decline in visitation did not occur.  A senior editor at VIA described P&P’s handling of the updates and assistance provided VIA leading up to the bridge opening as the finest example of media relations he’d ever seen.

Positive exposure was also generated on television and in newspapers and magazines for the openings of Big League Dreams, a softball complex that replicates Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in 3/4 scale and to the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens, a 200-acre horticultural park dedicated to plants from Mediterranean climate zones, and for a sculpture garden at Redding’s new city hall.

Bracebridge Dinner

Yosemite’s famous Christmas dinner performance, The Bracebridge Dinner, turned to P&P in December, 2005 to help promote production of a new music CD and encourage attendance to the expanded number of performances.  With only weeks to go before the first performance, P&P produced and distributed releases to hundreds of travel and entertainment writers and coordinated the visit of media to the performance.  KGO-TV (ABC, San Francisco) became the first film crew to film an entire performance from the floor of the banquet.  CD and performance sales benefited from the increased media attention.

Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Within two weeks of its assignment to promote late spring to early summer visitation, P&P had created a multi-media interactive marketing campaign including radio advertising on eight San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area stations, involving 16 original commercials, a SuperBlog™, radio station newsletters, radio station online banners, on air promotions, a sweepstakes, email campaigns and publicity.  Within four weeks, the promotion generated 9,000 email addresses, over 50 blogs and numerous other benefits, causing the Mariposa tourism website to rise from obscurity and to turn around lagging hotel reservations.  The head of the YMCTB said county TOT revenues increased by $1 million as a result of the campaign.  P&P was retained to do consecutive promotions.  In one week alone, nearly 5,000 people asked to be placed on the Yosemite/Mariposa mailing list, directly because of P&P’s effort.  Video techniques employed by P&P caused a small Mariposa motel to rise from obscurity to page one on Google, when searching for “Yosemite hotel.”

California’s Eastern Sierra

California is not known for having a change of season, though fall colors are spectacular in the Eastern Sierra, so P&P created a blog (www.californiafallcolor.com) and Twitter and Facebook pages, then enlisted color spotters from across California to provide reports of California’s “three-month fall color season,” leading with reports from the Eastern Sierra.  This created the impression among media that the longest-lasting and most spectacular show of fall color in the nation is seen in California, which many reported while referring to pictures of the Eastern Sierra.  P&P sent television weather reporters and The Weather Channel weekly updates.  They rebroadcast P&P’s reports throughout the three-month fall color season, with Sunset, the Los Angeles Times, the NY Times, SF Chronicle and many other media identifying the blog and sites as the definitive places to see reports about California’s extensive color season.

Angel Island Immigration Station

After many years of being closed and renovated, P&P recommended to California State Parks that they precede the opening of the US Immigration Station at Angel Island State Park with a press preview.  P&P coordinated the publicity committee, recommending that elderly people who had been detainees at the immigration station be on hand to be interviewed by media and managed media invitations through its online media database, which resulted in every single television station and daily newspaper in the SF Bay Area turning up for the press preview.  So many media arrived, that there was no room on the two press boats to take public information officers John Poimiroo (park concessioner) and Roy Stearns (state parks) to Angel Island.  So the two PIOs stood happily on the Tiburon dock as ferries transported the reporters to Angel Island for their interviews and tour of the refurbished immigration center. It’s a good thing Poimiroo and Stearns couldn’t leave with the rest of the reporters, as before a ferry returned to pick them up, another crew from an Asian TV station and a photojournalist from the San Francisco Examiner arrived.  They caught the later ferry with Poimiroo and Stearns and that day and the following week the media was saturated with reports of the pending reopening of the historic site.

National Parks Promotion Council

Visitation to America’s national parks has been declining since 1989.  In particular, few Americans under 25 years old have visited national parks or intend to do so.  P&P conducted a YouTube video campaign in 2010 utilizing young videographers who traveled to 23 national parks that summer.  They created 125 videos for just $25,000, resulting in nearly 300,000 views by youth.  Over 90% of the viewers were under 25 years old.  After viewing the videos, 25% clicked through to NPS.gov and 86% said they now plan to visit national parks.  The effort included creation of a blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and creation of a database of email addresses of fans of the videos.

Great America

Noticing that several big roller coasters were being built one summer at theme parks across the nation, John Poimiroo (who at the time was public relations manager for Marriott’s Great America) first called other theme park publicists and tipped them off as to what to say when the media called, then he called his contacts at Newsweek and Time, saying, “Have you heard about the roller coast war?”  When they checked it out… sure enough, PR contacts at other parks confirmed their park was at war with other theme parks for the biggest, fastest and wildest coasters.  The result… a cover story on Newsweek, a story in Time and television and newspaper reports about the “Roller Coaster War” appeared in media across the nation.

It was the snowiest winter on record back east, but unseasonably warm in California.  John Poimiroo could hardly help noticing that the comely dolphin trainer wore a bikini when she trained her dolphin in the hot Santa Clara winter sun.  So, he had the dolphin lie next to the trainer on the poolside deck, as she rested her pretty chin perched on her knuckles, as both the beauty and a broadly smiling dolphin appeared to be tanning themselves in the warm winter California sun.   The dolphin wore oversized gag sunglasses to match the large glasses worn by the fetching trainer.  John delivered the publicity photo to Associated Press, which distributed it worldwide, reporting that the two had taken a break from training at Great America in preparation for the theme park’s sunny opening in March.

Shasta Beverages

The owner of Shasta Beverages asked John Poimiroo (as Vice President at Hoefer-Amidei PR in San Francisco) to get some publicity for a charity equestrian event.  John arrived at the event with a photographer on the hottest day of the year, not quite sure what to do.  The owner’s daughter (a competing equestrienne) was dressed in crisp riding jacket and pants, but that didn’t stop him from asking if the pretty teen if she would mind getting wet.  When she didn’t.  He had her lie back in a horse trough drinking a Shasta soft drink as her horse drank from the trough.  The caption told of how she and her horse chose to cool off on the hottest day of the year while preparing for the Shasta-sponsored event.  John provided different versions of the photo which were distributed worldwide across AP and UPI.