888 W. Big Beaver Road Suite 777
Troy, Michigan 48084
P: 248.269.1122 F: 248.269.8202
Detroit-area company American Heartland Homebuilder (now Live Well Homes) was faced almost overnight with a need for some publicity, after agreeing to donate labor and materials to build a brand new home for an Armada, Mich. family that had recently lost its father/husband, as part of ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show.
Challenges: We had to maintain secrecy while client lined up volunteers, subcontractors and local approvals. Publicity had to drive donations to furnish home and offer the family some financial stability. And we had to develop press materials, media strategy and train spokespeople in less than two weeks.
Other complications: Worksite was a closed TV “set.” Rural location was 35 miles from Detroit’s media center. Only site for a press room was an open-air canopy set up on a dusty, plowed-over soybean field adjacent to the construction site. Difficult TV producers were denying media access to show’s designers. And the client’s CEO had a habit of swearing like, well … a construction worker.
Issue: How to generate publicity for the builder, the EM:HE TV show and the donors amidst these obstacles … in an extremely narrow time window during the build, as the builders finished the house in less than 54 hours … limiting interview and action visual/video opportunities.
Results: Great recognition for the builder and subcontractors involved more than 110 news stories about the homebuilder’s donation of time and materials, and recognition for a record-setting build for the popular Ty Pennington TV show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROesHV7qi34
Note: EM:HE was so pleased with the builder, Rick Merlini, that his company was selected to do another build for a needy family in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2008.
(Special thanks to Rick Merlini and Dan Iannotti, who got us involved in this crazy project!)
BPR’s Top 25 PR Projects is a biweekly profile highlighting some of our favorite client projects, as we commemorate Bianchi PR’s 25th year in business.