About the Bell Ringer Awards:

Since 1969, the annual Bell Ringer Awards Competition has been recognized as the region’s premier event for public relations and communications professionals. The awards recognize excellence in communications and public relations work in every field, industry, and across all mediums – print, broadcast and electronic

Community Service Campaign For Verizon Wireless
“Kids In Need Holiday Drive”

Our submission:
Our client, Verizon Wireless, requested development of a unique program to specifically benefit children living in domestic violence shelters to add to its overarching philanthropic program called HopeLine. Therefore, Thomson Communications designed a unique cross-platform campaign incorporating creative outreach elements and celebrity involvement. The “Kids In Need Holiday Drive” is an outreach program run from mid-November through mid-December during which community members and Verizon Wireless employees participate in a collection drive for new, unwrapped toys, games and books. In 2002, the campaign generated more than 2,000 gifts (not including clothing donations or gift certificates) distributed to nearly 50 domestic violence shelters throughout New England.

Radio Public Service Announcement For Verizon Wireless
“Kids In Need Holiday Drive”

Our submission:
To meet the challenging objectives associated with the Verizon Wireless “Kids In Need Holiday Drive” campaign Thomson Communications decided that it needed a celebrity to help generate the most interest. In addition, for it to be viable in New England, the chosen celebrity needed both a connection to radio, and to New England. After conducting some research, Thomson Communications developed a short list of options, with singer Michael Bolton as a first choice. Michael Bolton grew up in Connecticut, and still resides there today. And, because he’s a well-recognized singer, the connection to radio was obvious. The most notable of his qualifiers, however, is Bolton’s support of domestic violence and other children’s philanthropies. Founded in 1993, the Michael Bolton Charities (MBC) was established to raise awareness of those issues which adversely affect children and women at risk. MBC is particularly interested in identifying those organizations that provide direct services and grassroots initiatives to help those in need and their communities. With all of this in mind, Thomson Communications approached Bolton to determine his interest in recording a PSA for the Kids In Need program. He immediately said yes, and even though he was touring, agreed to make time to record the PSA. The CD was recorded and printed with Michael Bolton’s name alongside the Verizon Wireless logo.

After the PSA was created, Thomson Communications contacted appropriate radio stations throughout New England to make them aware of the program and encourage their participation by slotting the Bolton PSA into rotation.

We knew that due to format variations, some stations would not run a PSA voiced by Michael Bolton, as his style is more soft-rock and ballad than edgy heavy metal, for example. However, we too wanted them to support the Kids In Need program, and therefore created a PSA hard copy with the same information that could be recorded by a station’s on-air personality of choice.

The content of the PSA was focused on the reality of domestic violence in our region, in addition to more encouraging and positive information as to how individuals can help, specifically by donating new, unwrapped toys, games and books to any of Verizon Wireless’ 51 Communications stores located throughout New England.

Beyond the more than 2,100 donations received from our outreach, which included the PSA, we believe this element was a success based upon cost. The CD alone cost Verizon Wireless less than US$300 to produce. Yet, according to the National Sales Promotions Director at Greater Media, the company that owns WMJX-FM, WBOS-FM, WROR-FM, WKLB-FM, and WTKK-FM in Boston, the value of the spots that were run was $26,800. This does not include the countless other stations throughout New England that ran the PSA.