Anniversaries: the gift that keeps on giving (to PR people)

20140902101935aa769_0001Any PR professional worth her salt will tell you she absolutely adores publicizing a client anniversary. In fact, give us a shot, and any PR pro will quickly devise 100 ways for any client organization to mark its anniversary (with a sizable budget to go along, thank you very much).

I’m not stretching the truth when I say a client anniversary is to PR types what unclaimed former Soviet territory is to Vladimir Putin. We just can’t get enough.

My all-time favorite event was the Hostess Twinkies’ 75th anniversary.

I was a young account executive still very much learning the ropes at Geltzer & Co., a firm that was eventually sold to one of those evil holding companies.  At Geltzer, I had the good fortune to work alongside one of the most creative publicists I’ve ever known, Marv Gellman.

When the Hostess folks told us about the anniversary, and asked us for a Good Morning America-type big idea, Marv went into high gear.  He came up with all sorts of crazy ideas and one brilliant one. He suggested Hostess bakers create the world’s largest Twinkie (it turned out to be a full 75 pounds of mouth-watering, artery clogging goo). Marv’s idea was pure genius, though, and the remaining program elements flowed (melted?) from there.

I distinctly remember Marv traveling to Hostess company headquarters in New England to ensure the Twinkie 75th anniversary event was as big as a success as possible (and that the bakers baked what was requested of them). When it was completed, the Mt. Everest-sized Twinkie looked more like a tan version of the Hindenburg.

But, sure enough, Marv scored a GMA hit for the unveiling. He also secured an Associated Press wire photograph and god knows how many other print, TV and radio placements. If memory serves, Geltzer won a Silver Anvil for the special event and Marv launched a career that later saw him plan special events for his own firm and, eventually, for Ketchum clients.

I tell you my anniversary tale because Peppercomm began its fabled (star-crossed?) Journey 19 years ago today. Yes, Virginia, it was just under two decades ago that I washed up on the shores of Ed’s squalid, one bedroom apartment and we began the smiling-and-dialing that would lead to our eventual success.

Our plans
Because, we’re PR people celebrating a PR firm’s anniversary, Jackie Kolek and our crack agency marketing team have decided that today marks the beginning of a lengthy 20th anniversary celebration (god knows when it will finally end).

Jacko & Co. have all sorts of ideas on the drawing board, including:

– A video series spotlighting my late black lab Pepper, the smartest dog in the room
– A client/prospect dinner
– A specially commissioned survey on our core differentiator: listening
– Any number of celebratory parties
– SWAG, SWAG and more SWAG

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at Peppercomm. And, I’m dying to see what Jacko and her agency marketing types devise to mark the occasion.

I just wonder what Marv Gellman would conjure up for our event:

– The world’s largest dog?
– The world’s longest anniversary party, entitled, ‘They shoot dogs, don’t they?’
– The world biggest branded hoodie (large enough to squeeze all 100 or so Peppercomm employees)?

Ah anniversaries. For PR types like me, they’re the stuff of dreams. Or, if you prefer, the cream-filled cupcake of dreams.

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