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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.

Boston Harbor

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.

 

Social media can often be a “love/hate” relationship for brands. In one sense, it allows for positive engagement, communication, and relationship-building between brand and consumer. In another, many take to these platforms to air their grievances. With all this buzz and real-time interaction, brands are expected to be very attentive when counteracting the rapid amplification that can come from negative social conversations.

And like anything – especially in regards to this new era of constant connectivity – we look to the past to plan for the future.

Uniting Against United
Almost 8 years ago, a little band known as Sons of Maxwell was flying United Airlines. It was all great until a band member’s guitar broke because the airline staff was recklessly throwing luggage on-board. After United refused to compensate him for the broken equipment, the band posted a song on YouTube describing their experience. Lucky for the band, this song went viral and was the big break in their career.

Unlucky for United Airlines, they neglected to respond until after the video garnered 150K views. This forest fire of bad PR had an effect on people’s decision in choosing an airline. BBC reported that United’s stock dropped by 10% after the release of the video – a decrease in valuation of $180 million.

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An Uber Lapse in Judgment
Earlier this month, Uber faced a blistering response after CEO Travis Kalanick failed to denounce President Trump’s immigration ban and then continued to serve New York’s JFK airport during a reported taxi strike. The company received adverse reactions on social media. As a result of the hashtag #DeleteUber, 200,000 people deleted their Uber apps and many public voices added fuel to the fire.

 

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Amid Uber’s silence, Lyft – a runner-up competitor to Uber – capitalized on the opportunity by immediately taking the opposite stance on the immigration ban. They quickly sent out an email to their customers letting them know of the $1 million donation they made to ACLU. Many Uber customers shifted to Lyft after this.

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A Salty Reaction to Cinnabon
After the death of famous actor Carrie Fisher, Cinnabon made a controversial move by tweeting the below:

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Needless to say, this particular move left a bad flavor in people’s mouths.

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Fortunately, Cinnabon’s PR team was quick and tweeted an apology early the next morning. It’s likely the brand won’t suffer permanent damage.

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The CBC Way
We at CBC aren’t impervious to the accidental dangers of digital. In late 2016, an ad from our client Garnet Hill appeared on the infamous Breitbart News website. Known for its far-right policies, anti-LGBT messaging, and overall controversial reputation, it’s no mystery why lovers of Garnet Hill were vocal about their disapproval.

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Of course, both CBC and Garnet Hill were not aware of the ad’s placement on the website until it was brought to our attention via Twitter. We immediately pulled the ad, blocked Breitbart, and informed our distressed followers that the situation was handled.

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The moral of story: Respond promptly, show genuine concern and value your relationship with your consumers. It takes years to build a brand reputation and seconds for it to crumble.

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!

Advertising and PR agencies have been forced through some serious changes in recent years.  Some have transitioned better than others. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the tendency for creative agencies to work the heck out of staff. Nights, weekends and long hours are the norm, especially when the all important pitch or client presentation is around the corner.

But in an industry that relies on creative, nimble minds to succeed, does it make sense to beat our folks’ grey matter to a mushy pulp? (In case you’re too brain dead to answer, I’ll jump in here… Absolutely not.)

Cercone Brown CBC PR Advertising Agency Boston New York

Something’s Gotta Give: Ad & PR Agencies Need to Give People Time & Space

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This past August, Boston PR Agency CerconeBrownCompany, in partnership with consumer research group Kickstand Communications, launched the Green House in Boulder, Colo.  Over the course of two weeks, 22 of the nation’s top editors were immersed into a Smart Living lifestyle, which melds together lifestyle practices that are good for you, your wallet and the environment.

Editors learned about Smart Living to pass these tips along to you. Check out our PR agency coverage about Smart Living on “Good Morning America Health.”

Also check out The Huffington Post, where Scott Gwordz of Kickstand Communications talks about Smart Living with Ashley Koff, R.D. (registered dietitian) and LA’s “Best Nutritionist” three years running.

Start Smart Living yourself! Visit SmartHouseSmartLiving.com for tips and do-it-yourself guides for your home, your planet and your life…all while saving you money.

Cercone Brown & Co. Launches the First Annual Green House Marketing Program To Bring Awareness to Sustainable Living

When it comes to constructing or converting a home for “green living”, the common perception is that it’s expensive, inconvenient, and only for those who can afford the luxury of being eco-friendly.

However, one Boston PR agency, Cercone Brown & Co., aims to debunk these green stereotypes through a new program, the Green House. This May, just outside Burlington, Vt., Cercone Brown & Co. will immerse a Who’s Who of traditional and interactive press into a completely green-living environment.

The Green House is entirely eco-friendly, from energy efficiency and independence to the smallest details in its furnishings, fabrics and food. However, guests living this completely sustainable lifestyle will find the experience — from accommodations to travel to entertainment — not only affordable, but unexpectedly comfortable and convenient.

“The purpose of the Green House isn’t to try to convert folks to completely green living, but rather demonstrate that there are many often ingenious products and approaches that can make a big difference in the health of the planet and your finances,” said Emily McCavanagh, new business director, Cercone Brown & Co.

The House is expected to host 20 top consumer, green and business editors.  While there, editors won’t just look, they’ll be encouraged to touch, taste and test brands in a living laboratory of the latest ecologically inspired products.  Activities will include test-driving the new Honda Insight hybrid, taste-testing Green Mountain Coffee, and jogging in New Balance’s latest Earth-friendly shoes. Editors will also give back to their home-away-from-home by participating in a community service garden project to aid local families in need.

While PR teams from each company are encouraged to attend, the Green House honors a strict “no pitch” zone, instead endorsing genuine interactions with editors. This system ensures that Green House attendees have the best products of 2009/2010 at their disposal; no boundaries, no time constraints, no distractions.

The Green House: Vermont Living for the 21st Century

The Cercone Brown & Co. Green House is a “net zero” home, meaning it is intended to produce as much energy as it uses over the course of the year. Environmental features include geo-thermal heating, radiant concrete floors, triple pane windows, super insulated walls and roofs, active PV solar panels and significant south facing glass, which provides solar gain and great views down the valley.

Owned by the Vermont Building Resources and the Russell Family Farm, the Green House is certified by the Vermont Builds Green (VBS) program. The house is located on a 24-acre farm parcel with 14 acres set aside for continued farming.

The Green House concept is an outgrowth of Cercone Brown’s successful Summer House/Winter House programs (now in the fourth year) hosted in Nantucket, Mass. and Park City, Utah, respectively. Participating companies have included such leading brands as Subaru, Oakley, Vineyard Vines, Wente Vineyards, Baskin-Robbins, Zone Perfect, Seventh Generation, Nordic Track and many more.  For information on attending or exhibiting in any of Cercone Brown & Co’s Houses, contact Noelle Guerin at 617-248-0680 x21 or nguerin@cerconebrown.com.

About Cercone Brown & Co.
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Cercone Brown & Co. (CBC) provides branding, advertising, public relations and promotions services to companies in a range of industries. Founded in 2001, the company has worked with leading brands that include adidas, GMAC Insurance, Hasbro, Nantucket Nectars, Orvis, Cognos, Sperry Top-Sider, K2, The Timberland Company, Vibram and ZOOTS. For more information, visit www.cerconebrown.com.

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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

Boston PR firm becomes agency of record for organic produce company, Olivia’s Organics

BOSTON, MA. (Sept. 17, 2008)- After several successful collaborations, the dynamic duo of Olivia’s Organics and Cercone Brown & Co. is making their partnership official. The Boston-based public relations and advertising firm will become Olivia’s Organics’ agency of record, handling the company’s charitable outreach promotions and brand development.

“We have had great success with Cercone Brown & Co. over the years, from their promotional work on numerous Olivia’s Organics charity events to the introduction of our new Crunch Bunch line,” said Mark DeMichaelis, president, Olivia’s Organics. “We’re confident that our new partnership will only translate into more future successes.”

And Cercone Brown & Co. is not about to waste any time. This year, they will help Olivia’s Organics implement an ongoing charitable outreach project called Gardens of Goodness. The program will be launched in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where Olivia’s will work with local children to turn vacant inner-city greenhouses into flourishing, edible gardens.

About Cercone Brown & Co.
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Cercone Brown & Co. (CBC) provides branding, advertising, public relations and promotions services to companies in a range of industries. Founded in 2001, the company has worked with leading brands that include adidas, GMAC Insurance, Hasbro, Nantucket Nectars, Orvis, Cognos, Sperry Top-Sider, K2, The Timberland Company, Vibram and ZOOTS. For more information, visit www.cerconebrown.com.

About State Garden, Inc. & Olivia’s Organicstm
Founded in 1938, State Garden is a vested member of the New England Produce Industry. Family owned and operated since its inception, State Garden has become one of the leading independent regional processors of celery hearts and tender leaf items. In 2006, the company enhanced its service offerings by expanding into the organic market with a new salad line known as OLIVIA’S ORGANICSTM. The mission of OLIVIA’S ORGANICSTM is three-fold: to encourage healthy eating by offering all-natural, organic salads; to aide the local community through the work of the OLIVIA’S ORGANICSTM CHARITABLE FOUNDATION; and to protect the environment by endorsing earth-friendly farming techniques. For more information, please visit http://www.oliviasorganics.org.

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Boston PR agency helps Hasbro Inc. roll out its newest brand, NITRO XRCTM

BOSTON, MA. (Sept. 17, 2008)- Hasbro Inc., (NYSE: HAS) the world’s second largest toy-maker, has hired Cercone Brown & Co. to launch its exciting and innovative new brand. The PR agency will provide non-traditional brand development and promotional outreach as Hasbro introduces NITRO XRCTM, its new line of nitro fueled extreme radio-controlled cars.

Starting in November, the first NITRO XRCTM(Extreme Radio Control) vehicles, the NITRO XRC RICOCHET and NITRO XRC REVOLUTION MT, will be sold exclusively in Phoenix-area WalmartTM stores and nationwide HobbyTown USATM locations.

Capable of achieving speeds up to three times faster than traditional battery-operated RC vehicles and equipped with nitro fuel-powered, internal combustion engines, NITRO XRCTM vehicles are expected to attract RC enthusiasts between ages 16 and 25, a demographic that represents a new opportunity for the company.

“Cercone Brown & Co. recognizes that when it comes to capturing the attention of the Gen Y demographic, the standard marketing techniques usually won’t fit the bill,” said Brian Goldner, COO of Hasbro.  “As a PR agency who has put a lot of time into understanding and implementing non-traditional media campaigns, Cercone Brown & Co. is excited to help Hasbro construct a promotional campaign that is as exciting and innovative as the product we’re launching.”

Currently underway is the NITRO XRCTM X Demon Tour, which will help Cercone Brown & Co. and Hasbro introduce the new line. Kicked off at this summer’s Warped Tour, this multi-level mobile campaign will help Hasbro establish the NITRO XRC as an exciting new part of the Phoenix action sports culture through interactive promotional events and social media outreach.

“With the launch of this product, we’re aiming to connect with Millenials-a demographic for whom trendiness holds more importance than any other age group,” said Goldner.
“Studies show, however, that this generation is more interested in what their friends find cool than what a traditional ad might tell them is. Thus, as a brand who is still new to the scene, NITRO XRC is leveraging already-established connections to the Gen-Y demographic by packaging our product in their unique culture trappings: action sports brands, alternative music, cool locations and identifiable figures.”

The X Demon Tour will feature interactive demos at more than 70 major events and locations throughout Phoenix. RC buffs can get a taste of the action at Arizona State University football games, the Arizona State Fair, and the ASA Action Sports Tour among other events, where Gen-Y run street teams will demonstrate the vehicles’ speed and stunt capabilities and allow spectators to try their hand.

NITRO XRC will also be partnering with Walmart to conduct storefront demos at Phoenix-area stores.

Additionally, Cercone Brown & Co. will help Hasbro reach Gen-Y’ers in the place that they are most likely to be found: social media sites.  Utilizing high-traffic sites like You Tube, Facebook, Digg.com and Flickr, the NITRO XRC website features shareable X Demon Tour dates and videos, as well as a blog lorded over by two on-the-scene street teamers.

“By raising awareness of NITRO XRC through the avenues that are most unique to this demographic-popular music, brands, social media sites, major local events-we are hoping to position our brand as a truly “can’t miss” visceral experience that leads from consumer trials to word-of-mouth brand infusion and, eventually, to sales,” said Leonard Cercone, partner, Cercone Brown & Co.

The X Demon Tour will run through the end of December.

About Cercone Brown & Co.

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Cercone Brown & Co. (CBC) provides branding, public relations and promotions services to companies in a range of industries. Founded in 2001, the company has worked with leading brands that include adidas, GMAC Insurance, Hasbro, Nantucket Nectars, Orvis, Cognos, Sperry Top-Sider, K2, The Timberland Company, Vibram and ZOOTS. For more information, visit www.cerconebrown.com.

About Hasbro
Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech.  Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.

Cercone Brown and Co. named agency of record for Austin, Texas’s Sabertec, an environmental technology company specializing in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gases

BOSTON, MA. (Aug. 4, 2008)- Sabertec, an environmental technology company based in Austin, Texas, today names Cercone Brown & Co. as PR agency of record. The Boston-based PR firm will handle all media relations, digital communications, social media and event execution.

“Our companies are extremely likeminded In our belief that innovation will drive the environmental and economic change that will transform the United States and the world,,” said Bill O’Brien, CEO, Sabertec. “Their work on behalf of eco-driven-conscious brands like Nalgene and Olivia’s Organics gives us the confidence that this is a great fit for us.”

Sabertec is the maker of the Blade, a new technology that easily attaches to the tailpipe of a car, SUV, truck or hybrid to reduce vehicle air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing fuel economy.

Cercone Brown & Co. recently helped Sabertec launch a promotional event for the Blade called “Drive the Change,” in which celebrities, musicians and environmental activists spoke out about air pollution in Los Angeles and their choice to use the Blade.

“For us, choosing a PR agency was more than hiring someone to increase awareness about our company, it’s finding a partner to evangelize the important change we represent,” said O’Brien.

The company’s co-founder echoed O’Brien’s words of the synergies between the organizations.  “We share a strong eco-optimism, despite the seismic changes rocking the USA and the world,” said Cercone Brown & Co. Partner Len Cercone.  “The vision and hard work of innovators entrepreneurial companies like Sabertec will be the fuel that ushers in a new era of vast, lasting economic, environmental and social reform.”

About Cercone Brown & Co.
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Cercone Brown & Co. (CBC) provides branding, advertising, public relations and promotions services to companies in a range of industries. Founded in 2001, the company has worked with leading brands that include adidas, GMAC Insurance, Hasbro, Nantucket Nectars, Orvis, Cognos, Sperry Top-Sider, K2, The Timberland Company, Vibram and ZOOTS. For more information, visit www.cerconebrown.com.

About Sabertec
Sabertec is an environmental technology company based in Austin, TX, specializing in the development of affordable air pollution and global warming solutions for diesel and gasoline applications.  www.sabertec.org.

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