As we head into day two of the NFL Draft, our team’s bird’s eye view of the festivities prompted us to touch base with seasoned PR pro and PR Week 40 Under 40 winner, Doug Terfehr, Senior Director of Public Relations for Pizza Hut. Cynthia McCafferty, Hawthorne President, chatted with Doug to discuss successful PR planning for events like the NFL Draft.
Cynthia McCafferty: You have coordinated PR efforts around some of the biggest entertainment events from cross country pizza tours to the Super Bowl and everything in between, what is your favorite memory and your best “war” story?
Doug Terfehr: It’s often the time spent planning that’s the most memorable. For better or for worse. But, honestly, the best programs end up great because of the work put in prior to it happening.
Best “war” story? When the Super Bowl was in New York a few years ago we planned an OUTDOOR event/activation to celebrate our campaign at the time. Problem was it turned out to be like 6 degrees that week in the city. So, after day one of our activation – with very little fanfare/participation – we decided to audible and move our event inside the next day with our talent. It worked out extremely well. The store was packed, media showed up, team members were excited and we got what we ultimately wanted in the first place – engagement and a program that cut through the clutter. But standing outside the day before with frostbite was not fun.
Cynthia McCafferty: What does planning look like for you and your team leading up to a big event?
Doug Terfehr: There’s never enough time. You have to just accept that going in. Everything is going to feel rushed because the magnitude, and usually what’s at stake, is so big. So, when we’ve had success it’s because we’ve been able to bring together all departments well ahead of time to get that collective alignment and then we charge hard to the finish like to make it all happen.
Cynthia McCafferty: What are some of the best ways to utilize events like the NFL Draft or the Olympics to extend your brand’s reach?
Doug Terfehr: Sponsor or not, pop culture moments are things that your audience is paying attention to on their own time. Leverage that. They are paying attention, so give them something entertaining or worthwhile to do that then involves your brand into their pre-existing experience. The NFL Draft is a prime example. Thirty-two teams are announcing their first round picks. What’s your brand’s first round pick? What’s your brand’s draft weekend game plan? Overall, what role can your brand play to enhance the draft watching experience. In the case of pizza, that’s often a good deal, a fun piece of content or a contest that’s tied to something memorable happening on draft night, (i.e. last guy in the green room, etc.).
Cynthia McCafferty: You have had great success leading very recognizable brands, what do you think are some of the most important components of an integrated campaign?
Doug Terfehr: If you start with separate agendas, the ideas are often going to always feel “separate.” Integrate from the get-go. If you know your brand, and you know your audience, the ability to integrate a message is that much easier. Make sure that everyone is aligned on that and get ready to have some fun.