Tag Archives: media

Adventures in PR with convertibles, crustaceans

Driving up the New England coast line in a convertible is not what I would call a bad day at the office.   Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to support our client, The Haartz Corporation, at the annual New England Motor Press Association’s Rag Top Ramble and Crustacean Crawl.  Haartz supplies the topping material for almost every soft-top convertible manufactured around the world, making the event a perfect fit.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – other than temperatures soaring above 90 degrees and humidity at about 65 percent, plus 30 convertibles of all makes and models, 60 members of the media and a handful of OEM representatives. It turns out all of those ingredients produce a wicked amount of fun!


The cars were lined up outside of the Larz Andersen Auto Museum, prior to the drive.

The Ramble kicked off at the Larz Andersen Auto Museum outside of Boston and extended up I-95 North into Kennebunkport, Maine.  Keys to the vehicles are surrendered at the Larz Andersen and tossed into a bucket.  Media members randomly select a set of keys and then immediately start negotiating (bargaining, begging, etc.) with each other to switch.  They then partner with an OEM or a PR representative and start the drive.  To keep it fair, drivers switch cars at the half-way point.  Lucky vacationers at the New Hampshire rest stop were able to check out and take photos of a lot of cars you wouldn’t normally see cruising up and down the New England coast (or many other places, for that matter!), including the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition, BMW Z4, Porsche 911 C4S Cabriolet, Lamborghini Avendor Roadster, Jaguar XKR CV, a Bentley and a McLaren.

The adventure wasn’t all about the drive.

After the switch, it’s up to Kennebunkport, Maine for a New England lobster boil and clam bake at the (beautiful!) Colony Hotel. Don’t worry, the native New Englanders taught this Detroiter how to eat a lobster – and didn’t laugh too much when I made a few rookie mistakes.

My first ride was a Volvo C70, the second ride was the new Volkswagen Beetle Turbo.  Both were fun and sporty to ride along in with the top down. And a bonus, I did manage to work on my tan!

The Volvo C70 is the first car Ann Marie rode in, from the museum up to the rest stop in New Hampshire.

What’s the most fun/exotic car you’ve ever driven?

Ann Marie Fortunate is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group.  You can reach her at (313) 567-5040 or fortunate@franco.com.  Follow her on Twitter @AMFortunate.

Tools a PR pro can’t live without – a Franco perspective

A PR pro’s job can be hectic and fast paced. Working in this industry, we have to learn and master many tools of the trade to do our job effectively.

In this case, my definition of a tool is anything and everything I use to get the job done, from my notepad and pen to my car and cell phone.

You might be surprised to learn that some of a PR pro’s most important tools can be found in the junk drawer at home. For example, I might use a pair of scissors to cut the hardcopy of a story about Arbor Hospice (client) out of the pages of the Detroit News and I’ll probably reach for a glue stick next to adhere the story and masthead to a piece of white paper, completing the clip. A little old-fashioned with the internet but it’s important because stories aren’t always posted on the web and not all papers have a digital edition.

Some of the more unique tools PR pros use includes media monitoring services such as News Power Online and Critical Mention. Subscribing to these services allows us Franconians to monitor TV, radio, print and digital media from across the globe for mentions of our clients. Not only do these services keep an eye on media near and far they also allow us to pinpoint, clip and download audio and video copies to save in our files or share with clients. This tool comes in handy when a client is mentioned by an out of market media outlet or a client requests a copy of a specific segment.

When I asked a few of my Franco colleagues what tools they can’t live without and this is what they had to say:

For Vice President Tina Sullivan, it’s her tasks list in Microsoft Outlook. “My schedule is constantly changing and having a dynamic task list allows me to move dates and tasks around as often as necessary. Being able to update on the fly keeps me on top of my everyday to-do’s.”

Account Executive Andrea Kenski relies on her iPhone and the Evernote app to help stay organized. “This free app has saved my life when it comes to remembering things, but what I like most is that it saves documents, ideas and images across my electronic devices, including my iPhone, iPad and computer.”

There are still more tools vital to the completion of our day-to-day tasks, such as a rolodex (I know, it’s old fashioned), dictionary and thesaurus, email and even Facebook and Twitter for monitoring current trends and connecting with audiences. But a PR pro’s most important tool comes from within. Creativity is what drives progress and innovation in our line of work. By opening our minds to new ideas and opportunities, we are able to develop and implement strategies that break the mold.

On a side note, I thought this discussion warranted an honorable mention for the office coffee maker. Many of us would be lost without our morning cup of Joe.

What are some tools that you couldn’t live without?

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com. Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.