EXPERTS IN CRISIS by J. Walter Thompson Nicaragua for CENTRO MARIA DE LOS ANGELES

EXPERTS IN CRISIS

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Industry Business equipment & services, Public awareness, Corporate Image
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Agency J. Walter Thompson Nicaragua
Director Pablo Espada
Art Director Johanna Santiago
Copywriter Pablo Torres
Editor Mizael Morales
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Corporate Responsibility
Advertiser: CENTRO MARÍA DE LOS ÁNGELES
Product/Service: CRISIS MANAGEMENT
Vice President Regional Creative Director: Jaime Rosado (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Creative Director: Manuel Torres Kortright (JWT San Juan)
Web Designer: Daniel Vicente (JWT San Juan)
Editor: Mizael Morales (Hocus Pocus)
Audio Engineer: Carlos Dávila (Hocus Pocus)
Copywriter: Pablo Torres (JWT San Juan)
Art Director: Johanna Santiago (JWT San Juan)
Director: Pablo Espada (Latitude 18)
Media placement: TV - Univisión - 17 December 2009
Media placement: WEB - Internet - 17 December 2009
Media placement: PRINT - Newspaper - Caribbean Business - 17 December 2009

Summary of the Campaign
2009 was a tough year for all of JWT Puerto Rico's clients. Even during the cheerful Christmas season, it was hard for them not to worry about the ongoing economic crisis and the new challenges coming in 2010. As a consequence, the agency felt that a traditional Christmas card was not going to do the trick. So, instead of putting a clever line under an illustrated pine tree, we developed an entire public relations campaign to serve as our corporate greeting card. We hired 4 experts who have successfully dealt with crisis situations almost from the day they were born. Each one was featured in a website that offered helpful video tips and lessons that addressed the crisis-specific concerns troubling most of our clients. These experts came from diverse backgrounds but had at least one thing in common: they were all beneficiaries of the María de los Ángeles Centre, a non-profit organisation that helps children with disabilities. The website's address was sent to all of our clients and was published in the main business newspaper in Puerto Rico. Upon entering the site, visitors were able to access valuable lessons in crisis management and make a donation to the Centre.

The Goal
Our goal instantly shifted from card to campaign. Moreover, we believed this effort could benefit not only our clients, but also the entire Puerto Rican business community. Focused on giving help to businesses around the island, we thought about ways through which companies traditionally seek assistance in times of crisis. For instance, many of them hired consultants as sources of advice. So we decided to hire 4 experts in crisis management to serve as advisers to any corporation that could use their wisdom. We built a PR campaign around these experts in order to reach as many businesses as possible.

Results
Most of the website’s first-time visitors instantly turned into long-term contacts after watching the videos and meeting the experts. Because we included a link to the Centre’s Facebook page (which essentially serves as their main site), we were able to measure the campaign’s effect on the number of their friends and followers. By the first week of the site being up, the Centre more than doubled its friend count. These friends are now kept up to date with news and ways they can donate or get involved. The donation programme embedded to the campaign brought the María de los Ángeles Centre more than $20,000 in new donations. Thanks to the large increase in web visits, social network interactions and PayPal donations brought by the public relations effort, the Centre multiplied the size of its contact list of potential donators and collaborators.

Execution
Once the website was up, we kicked off a public relations effort to bring the business community to our consultants. To spread the word, we began by sending a link, along a letter from the agency’s president, to key contacts among our clients and suppliers: general managers, brand managers, programming managers, and so on. In turn, these contacts forwarded it to other colleagues. Many even shared it through personal Facebook and Twitter pages, instantly creating a viral effect. To reach more members of the target audience, we received mass media support. On the day the website went public, we placed an ad on the Caribbean’s most read business newspaper. Finally, the website also hosted a donation program through which members of the business community could reciprocate the help received from the experts. Right after watching the videos, visitors could donate through a link to the non-profit organisation’s PayPal account.

The Situation
It was Christmas 2009, so we put some time aside to come up with the Christmas greeting we traditionally send to our clients. But 2009 was no ordinary year. As pretty much the entire world still stood in the middle of an economic crisis, virtually all of our clients were closing the year amidst layoffs, budget cuts, and dwindling sales. We quickly determined that 2009 was no year for a Christmas card. With 2010 around the corner, we felt our clients would rather receive some extra help, even on top of the usual services we provided as their agency.

The Strategy
The experts we hired had never really run a business. None of them had a college degree, let alone an MBA. They only had at least one thing in common: they were all beneficiaries of a non-profit organisation that helps children with disabilities. Young as they were, they could lecture anyone on how to deal with the worst types of crises. In order to make their insights available to all, we spent time with each one and recorded everything: interviews, demonstrations or any sort of lesson they very willingly gave us. We then edited this footage and organised it according to specific crisis topics that kept our clients up at night. The resulting videos were uploaded to a website, where anyone could enter to learn directly from the experts. After watching, visitors soon discovered that their crises were probably not as unmanageable as they seemed.