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We’ll just come right out and say it: we LOVE Beantown! As one of the most historic cities in the country, Boston has a lot to offer from unique activities, great food, and lastly, is home to some amazing brands.

Throughout the year, we routinely invite editors and influencers spanning a variety of lifestyle, food, and travel publications to join us for brand excursions to aspirational places like Santa Barbara and Sonoma County. While these locations are breathtaking in their own ways, we decided it was time to take advantage of our own backyard and prove that Boston in fact is a great travel destination.

This is why we invited 10 editors to come experience all of Beantown’s unique qualities in our first Boston Experience, a new program added to our House Program series.

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Take me out to the ball game

It wouldn’t be a trip to Boston without a chance to watch the Sox play at Fenway Park. As soon as the editors landed in Logan Airport, we made our way over to Fenway – in Safr vehicles, a new Boston-born ridesharing app – to watch the Boston team play the Blue Jays (spoiler: they crushed the Jays). Even though some of our New Yorkers were hesitate about sporting those Boston B’s on their caps, everyone enjoyed a Fenway Frank, or two, and were psyched to be able to experience a ball park that has so much history – Green Monster and all.

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Best view in Boston

For their weekend in Boston, the media had the pleasure of staying at one of Boston’s newest boutique hotels, The Envoy Hotel. Situated along the water in one of the city’s fast growing neighborhoods, the Innovation District, the views from this hot spot are unmatched.

After a Red Sox game, we rounded off the evening with a boozy social on the Envoy Hotel’s stunning rooftop, drinking in the city skyline as well as a few signature cocktails.

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Unforgettable brand experiences

The next morning, we were up at the crack of dawn to watch the fishing boats at Boston Fish Pier unload their daily catch. Legal Sea Foods gave us the behind the scenes scoop on how they choose their premium fish and what goes into making sure all their restaurants are getting the best and freshest fish.

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Later that evening, our group dined with Legal Sea Foods at their Harborside location in the Seaport. It all began with Executive Chef Rich Vellante’s oyster shucking demo – that you can find live on Food Network’s Facebook page.

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And the night concluded with a true sea-to-table dining experience where the media tasted Legal Sea Food’s freshest seafood dishes. Also at the table, was Legal Seafood’s CEO Roger Berkowitz who dined with the media and chatted about his journey with the brand.

Demarco Williams, Forbes Travel Guide editor, wrote about his experience with Roger Berkowitz. Check it out here.

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After a classic duck tour excursion, the best way to get up to speed on your Boston history, the day peaked with a surprise trip to Ocean Spray’s cranberry bog just outside of the city. Knee-deep in cranberries, the media learned about cranberry harvest and finished off the experience with a bog-side luncheon. Needless to say, the group was berry pleased with the amazing Instagram pics they got from this adventure.

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Feasting, beasting and sight-seeing

The next morning we kicked off the day the right way with a scenic run along the freedom trail in Hoka One One kicks!

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And followed it with a lunch rendezvous to ArtBar in Cambridge where the staff pulled out all the stops – oysters, shrimp, mini tacos, a s’mores bar, and a sorbet bar!Picture1

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And from ArtBar’s patio, a boat picked us up for a little rosè and a cruise around the harbor with 90+ Cellars and Discover Boating.

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We sent off our media with a restful rooftop yoga class, hosted by Boston- born brand Crane & Lion.

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Who knew there was so much to do in our very own backyard? Check out the social chatter from this experience on Instagram at #CBCBostonExperience.

 

Can you believe it? CBC just wrapped up its 11th annual Winter House. And if we do say so ourselves, it gets better with age!

As communication methods evolve, so do the creative ways that we as marketers collaborate with brands. For those who don’t know, the CBC House Programs bring some of the nation’s most coveted top tier media to some incredible locations. For Winter House, Park City, UT was the perfect setting to experience brands and their products the way they were intended.

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19 editors from top-tier outlets like Esquire, Fox News, and Women’s Health joined us in Park City to ski the slopes at Deer Valley, sip cocktails by the fire at Wyndham Vacation Rentals, and experience a Rocky Mountain winter firsthand.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the brands and experiences that were showcased at the 2017 Winter House:

Miraclesuit hosted a playful hot tub cocktail hour and dinner hosted by a private chef. The perfect ending to a day on the slopes.

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Deer Valley is home to some of the best skiing in the country. Here, editors skied on perfectly powdered runs while outfitted with gear from Obermeyer, Rossignol, and the Rudy Project.

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After skiing, yoga was the perfect way to unwind and stretch out those tired muscles. Kleenex hosted a relaxing yoga class at one of Deer Valley’s most elegant resorts, The Montage.

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And the fun didn’t stop there. Media guests were wined and dined with POM-perfect cocktails, while bundling up in Ugg boots and Stance socks.

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To close the experience, Ester-C hosted a breakfast on the last day where they concocted juices and smoothies that included their immune boosting products. After the healthy meal, editors boarded their planes energized and fully equipped to fight off the winter cold season.

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Through the experiences provided by CBC Winter House, editors naturally connected with brands and products as a way to craft genuine stories to share with their readers. But don’t take it from us, check out the full story of #CBCWinterHouse on Instagram.

There’s something to be said about a weekend getaway to America’s wine region, Sonoma County. Breathtaking countryside, endless vineyards, the finest farm-to-table cuisine, all tucked into the rolling hills of Northern California. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and unplug – or to simply indulge in amazing food and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

For 24 editors spanning a variety of lifestyle publications, this blissful vacation daydream became a reality during CBC’s Cooking Cottage experience from April 29-May 4.

The CBC Cooking Cottage is part of our House Program series and was born from the desire to provide editors and bloggers the opportunity to engage with a variety of brands in a tangible, meaningful way. Representatives from publications like Good Housekeeping, Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Women’s Health, and more attended the organized oasis and left with a weekend experience they won’t forget.

Each day featured a new set of socially-engaging activities, each hosted by a different brand. The agenda included events like a wine and cheese at Arrowood Vineyard with President Cheese, an exclusive poolside yoga class with Clif Bar, tours of two Jackson Family Wines vineyards, a Pinot and Potatoes Paint Night with Alexia, and many delicious meals in between.

The Cooking Cottage experience gave participants an enchanting taste of the rich Sonoma culture, as well as an insider’s look at highly-coveted brands like Omaha SteaksSambazonStonewall Kitchen, and Simply Organic.

But don’t just take our word for it. Scroll through the amazing photos posted by our guests on the hashtag #CBCcottage on Instagram.

Until next year, Cooking Cottage!

There’s something to be said about a weekend getaway to America’s wine region, Sonoma County. Breathtaking countryside, endless vineyards, the finest farm-to-table cuisine, all tucked into the rolling hills of Northern California. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and unplug – or to simply indulge in amazing food and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

For 24 editors spanning a variety of lifestyle publications, this blissful vacation daydream became a reality during CBC’s Cooking Cottage experience from April 29-May 4.

The CBC Cooking Cottage is part of our House Program series and was born from the desire to provide editors and bloggers the opportunity to engage with a variety of brands in a tangible, meaningful way. Representatives from publications like Good Housekeeping, Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Women’s Health, and more attended the organized oasis and left with a weekend experience they won’t forget.

Each day featured a new set of socially-engaging activities, each hosted by a different brand. The agenda included events like a wine and cheese at Arrowood Vineyard with President Cheese, an exclusive poolside yoga class with Clif Bar, tours of two Jackson Family Wines vineyards, a Pinot and Potatoes Paint Night with Alexia, and many delicious meals in between.

The Cooking Cottage experience gave participants an enchanting taste of the rich Sonoma culture, as well as an insider’s look at highly-coveted brands like Omaha Steaks, Sambazon, Stonewall Kitchen, and Simply Organic.

But don’t just take our word for it. Scroll through the amazing photos posted by our guests on the hashtag #CBCcottage on Instagram.

Until next year, Cooking Cottage!

From Rain Barrels and Recycling to Walking and Buying Second-Hand Clothes,
“The Nalgene Least Wasteful City Study” Puts Top 25 Metros Under Scrutiny for Wasteful Behavior

With thrift and conservation on the minds of many Americans, a new study put the spotlight on wasteful behavior in our nation’s cities. “The Nalgene Least Wasteful City Study” ranked 23 waste-focused habits of urban Americans, from recycling, to using public transportation, to shutting off the lights when leaving the room.  When the results were tallied, San Francisco earned the title of America’s Least Wasteful City, while Atlanta ranked last in the study.

Other cities at the top of the least wasteful list are New York (2), Portland, OR (3) and Seattle (4). In addition to Atlanta, Dallas (24), Indianapolis (23), Houston (22) and St. Louis (21) were in the bottom five of those surveyed. Individuals can visit www.leastwastefulcities.com  for complete rankings or to the take the survey themselves.

Surprisingly, in trying economic times, frugality isn’t the leading factor motivating Americans to change wasteful ways.  In fact, over half surveyed (57 percent) cited “that it is our responsibility to ensure the health of our planet for future generations” as the motivation for changing behavior, followed by “it makes financial sense” (22 percent).

The study was commissioned by Nalgene, the leading manufacturer of reusable water bottles, as part of its FilterForGood campaign, an ongoing partnership with Brita to encourage less wasteful behavior.

“This study highlights habits that our society has adopted out of convenience, but on a whole can have a huge impact on the sustainability of the planet,” said Eric Hansen, Sr. Business Manager, Nalgene-Outdoor. “Clearly, some cities are ahead of others when it comes to changing our approach to wastefulness in our actions big and small, but there’s room for all to improve.”

The study questioned 3,750 individuals living in the top 25 largest U.S. cities, gauging behavior on waste, sustainability, shopping, transportation and more. The results were weighted to give more credit to behaviors that had immediate and significant impact on the planet (e.g., driving less, recycling or reducing trash) to small habits that are more indicative of a mindset and non-wasteful approach to life (e.g., reusing containers, limiting shower time or saving wrapping paper and ribbons).

Survey Says: Environmental Efforts Need to be Easy and Convenient … and Save Money
Results show that with the exception of recycling (the 5th top least wasteful behavior), urban Americans are more readily embracing small, everyday habits to cut waste: (1= Never; 10 = Always/Without Fail):

Save leftover food/meals to eat again 8.58
Shut off lights when not in the room 8.48
Turn off water when brushing teeth 7.22
Use energy efficient light bulbs 7.16
Recycle glass/metal/plastics on a regular basis 6.87

The study also suggests that convenience is trumping prudence when it comes to significant wasteful behavior including transportation and personal conservation efforts (average score, 1= Never; 10 = Always/Without Fail):

Avoiding drying clothes in an electric or gas clothes dryer 2.05
Use a rain barrel 2.13
Compost my fruit and vegetable scraps 3.15
Take public transportation 3.37
Drive my car for trips that are less than two miles from home 3.73

CITY HIGHLIGHTS

  • San Francisco led the way in many categories, and was best overall at recycling, reusing wrapping paper, turning off the water to brush teeth and not using cars for short trips from home.
  • Less is Best in the West. San Francisco, Portland and Seattle are among the top four in practicing least wasteful behaviors.
  • NYC’s Surprising Hot Commodity, Rain Water. New York, coming in as the second least wasteful city in the U.S., is the only east coast city to rank in the top seven. They rank number one at collecting rain fall by using a rain barrel and taking public transportation. Los Angeles comes in second for using a rain barrel.
  • Second-Hand Style Doesn’t Work in Beantown. Not many Bostonians are wearing second-hand outfits or sitting on used couches these days. Boston comes in last at buying second-hand, followed by New Yorkers. Portland is the best at second-hand shopping.
  • The Heartland Loves Local Libraries. Clevelanders love their local libraries, coming in number one for borrowing books from the library.
  • Hot Enough for Ya? Miami is the worst at avoiding the purchase of bottled water.
  • Last Night’s Noshes Loved in Sugar Land. Houston loves leftovers, coming in as the best at saving leftovers to eat again. However, their neighbors in Dallas are not so great at saving leftovers

HOW AMERICANS PLAN TO CHANGE THEIR LEAST WASTEFUL WAYS THIS YEAR:
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they are already living a somewhat eco-friendly lifestyle; while 85 percent plan on being more environmentally conscious in the next year.

  • Electric Shock: Two-thirds (65 percent) will shut the lights off when not in the room and 65 percent will use energy efficient light bulbs
  • Around the House: More than half (56 percent) will recycle more and turn off the water when brushing their teeth (both 56 percent), while 57 percent will save leftover food to eat again
  • At the Market: More than one-third (38 percent) will avoid using bottled water, opting instead for reusable containers. Half (56 percent) plan on using reusable grocery bags
  • Walk the Line: One-third plan to forgo the car for trips less than two miles from home

For information on how to rate your own least wasteful behavior and to find out how your city can make a small change towards a big difference by adopting reusable water bottles in place of disposable, single serve bottled water, visit www.leastwastefulcities.com and www.filterforgood.com.

About Nalgene Outdoor
Nalgene Outdoor Products is based in Rochester, New York. Founded in 1949 as a manufacturer of the first plastic pipette holder, the company soon expanded its product line to include state-of-the-art polyethylene labware under the NALGENE brand.  By the 1970s, outdoor enthusiasts had discovered the taste and odor-resistant, leakproof and rugged properties of NALGENE’s large selection of plastic containers. In response to this emerging demand, the NALGENE Consumer Products Division was formed. For more information, contact NALGENE Consumer Products or visit our website at HYPERLINK “http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/”www.nalgene-outdoor.com.

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Advertising and PR agencies like ours have changed the way we communicate, adding things like search engine marketing, social media promotions, blogging and lots of other direct-to-consumer communications. It’s to the point that literally half of our PR services have nothing to do with media relations.  In fact, it’s hard to tell where our advertising campaigns end and our PR tactics begin.  It’s all intertwined in one platform of online and offline communications.

This is great, but there’s a creeping issue of intergity as the filter of established media outlets weakens.

Consider this: last week, the Seattle Times closed, and venerable papers across the country are teetering on the edge of the abyss. And it’s not just newspapers, Best Life magazine shudders in May what I’m sure will be a series of glossy periodical closures in the next 36 months.

True, this is largely economic fallout, but there’s something more afoot as corporate self-publishing bypasses the media with RSS releases with embedded video and links, and microsites promotions become our standard form of campaigning. The balance of objectivity is in danger if becoming severely out of whack.

Good online marketers know that overly commercial messages on the Internet are useless.  But insidious spin can be even more dangerous, and not just to readers.  Nothing will kill a company faster on the Net than dishonesty.

So PR and advertising agencies turn more to RSS, microsite campaigning, social media PR and even search engine optimization, the entire profession needs to step back and take a long, cool drink of integrity.  

This new Wild West of public relations is a dangerous place. In the past, a curt “no thanks” from a journalist only hurt the ego.  As we wade directly into the waters of public opinion, the rip tide of objectivity will churn with considerably more power and wrath.

Consider this the next time you’re about to hit “post”.  We’re counting on you.

This is the second of three entries on Word of Mouth techniques for PR agencies and professionals. In the last entry, I talked about the first word of mouth tool, guerilla marketing. Today, it’s the publicity stunt. Granted, one could argue that they are very similar, but in my book there is one basic, but important difference: the stunt is about media coverage, including consumer generated media.

A stunt is an unabashed and often brazen play for publicity. Again, Red Bull has a great example: the Flutag. Otherwise normal, semi-emotionally balanced folk leaping from great heights in a hilarious, self-effacing attempt to fly on contraptions of their own design. You can’t help but look, and it makes great TV.

Stunts are easy to spot: skydivers, streakers, even the ol’DJ-on-the-billboard are stunt stereotypes. But to be successful, stunts have to do more than just grab attention. They must create compelling images, a can’t miss photo op. TV and print photo editors think of what looks good on the screen or a page, and it doesn’t always need to be outrageous.

Before baseball player Johnny Damon defected from the Red Sox to the Yankees, Gillette had extensive coverage for the launch of its new razor thank to him. Johnny agreed to shave his Grizzly Adams beard in public for a local charity. Complete with attractive female barbers (it’s a man’s razor, after all), they captured the city’s attention. Johnny’s clean-shaven face looked great on the evening news, leading all to believe that the M3Power must be one helluva razor.

But the best part of stunts these days? You don’t need the traditional media to be successful. We have YouTube. Still, it’s a crowded viral world out there. To be successful, you should the same press-savvy thinking to your viral videos as (good) PR pros have for years with the Stunt.

And in a shameless plug, check out a video of a stunt my firm, CBC, did for Nantucket Nectars back in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series. The World’s Largest Thank You Card brought thousands together from around New England, and made it all the way to the network news. Enjoy!

Next Up: Grassroots marketing.

I came across a good article on effective media relations I thought I’d share. It’s from the Bulldog Reporter, a news source for PR professionals. It was from the blog Journalists Speak Out, which is a must read for all PR agency folk. While there’s not a lot of new information for people who work hard on packaging news with specific media needs in mind, it’s at very least a quick and easy reminder of some major do’s and don’ts for media relations agencies from Boston to Baton Rouge.

The big tip for me is the “nut graph.” You can be sure that all of our publicists at CBC will be adding this to their pitches and releases.

Enjoy…

New Year’s Resolutions Journalists Wish PR Practitioners Would Make
By Brian Pittman

“A resolution many journalists probably wish PR people would make could be to commit to doing more homework before calling us,” says Kristin Bender, the Berkeley reporter for the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, which owns The Oakland Tribune. “It doesn’t have to be extensive. Just ‘use the Google,’ as President Bush says,” continues Bender, who is also a freelance writer and frequent Bulldog Awards for Excellence in Media Relations and Publicity judge. Read more

These days, media relations pros are finding the universe of press opportunities dwindling.  True, there’s a whole host of things your PR agency can do with online and social media marketing, including bolstering search results through smart SEO copywriting, promotional campaigns, Facebook and Twitter.  But the truth is that a huge amount of sway in public opinion is still held by the traditional media.  

Public relations pros still need to reach the national news outlets and magazines that are reporting on trends and products with great depth and authority.

But with advertising support at an all time low, these outlets have less time and space for editorial. So PR agencies need to work smarter for their clients than ever before.  Here’s Three Rules to Getting Ink that should help get bolster your media relations efforts in these times of scarcity: Read more