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What’s the hoopla all about?

Challenge
Kraft Foods Foundation (now Mondelez International) had a long history of support for year-round youth health and well-being programs in Chicago, its hometown. For nearly ten years, Kraft Great Kids aligned with more than half a dozen program partners for activities that ranged from free family museum admissions to library story hours. While many area families took advantage of individual program elements, the Foundation wanted to broaden audience awareness of the full scope of Kraft Great Kids program. They hired Marj Halperin Consulting (MHC) to develop a public relations initiative that would both raise the profile of the program and generate more collaboration between grantees, including a vehicle to share audiences.

Strategy
MHC produced a series of summer festivals in communities around Chicago to bring all the partners together for the first time. We led a team of grantees through a collaborative planning process and created Hoopla, a series of four free family festivals that drew more than 6,000 people throughout the summer of 2011.

The festivals rotated among partner venues, with each partner providing a station for engaging family activities in four diverse Chicago-area communities. This introduced partners to neighborhoods in which they hadn’t worked previously, as well as attracted established audiences to new neighborhoods. MHC designed a colorful and engaging brand identity with tents, banners and flags that reflected the Kraft Foods brand. We carried the theme throughout print, web, and onsite materials.

We knew we’d need a multi-faced approach to reach as many of Kraft’s key audiences and encourage participation in Hoopla. We created a Hoopla-specific microsite, brochures, and kid-friendly passports to get the word out, while connecting with targeted media in television, print and online to place stories. We got great reception from media, but we wanted something more. We wound up taking over an hour of the WGN morning show, staging a mini-festival right in the WGN studios back lot.

Success
We secured more than 110 media placements in 50 traditional and online media outlets, including city and suburban newspapers, family magazines and mommy blogs; wire services took news of the Kraft Foods Foundation event national, with placements as far away as California. The WGN mini-festival yielded numerous Hoopla-themed segments during their top-rated local morning news show, including cutaways, weather, and sports reports—and, of course, client interviews.

Although free, the Hoopla event was ticketed, and nearly 1,500 additional tickets were reserved in the 24 hours after WGN’s programming, exceeding our target of 4,000 guests. A remarkable 99% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had fun at Hoopla and would recommend it to friends. For 93%, it was likely or very likely they would attend year-round Great Kids programs now that they had been to Hoopla, with a full 50% indicating they would participate in Kraft Great Kids year-round programming. We even sparked a new collaboration among partners, as Ravinia and Kohl Children’s Museum hatched plans to work together on an upcoming children’s music exhibit.

By thinking outside traditional event promotion, we were able to bring our client the recognition their programs needed and build trust with one of Kraft’s key audiences: families.

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