Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spotlight on B.C.

The first few days of the Games kept our B.C. Canada Pavilion team on the run for all the right reasons.

During sunset on Saturday, August 9, the Premier of British Columbia Gordon Campbell hosted Beijing city representatives and other VIP guests and officials to officially present the pavilion's Canadian hardwood archway entrance as a gift to the 2008 Olympic host city. Our Beijing Edelman team focused on getting Chinese media attendees to the event, while my Vancouver-based colleague and China roommate Paul and I tackled U.S., Canadian and other international media invitations. We also updated content for the B.C. Canada Pavilion website for this and other festivities at the Province's Beijing address. The photos tell the tale of secured media on site.

Our public relations activities also included outreach to large outlets in several nations. Though a high level executive friend of the Premier opened the big doors to create a TODAY Show segment, our team worked closely with the Premier's office and show producers to prepare for a live broadcast beamed back to North America from the Olympic Green. It was very satisfying to leave the TODAY Show green room with a few of NBC's coveted Olympic pins in tow, and it is always a great thrill to stand behind the camera operators and producers on the set with the live audience over the shoulders of Matt and Meredith.

Prepping for live or taped interviews involves getting background materials to reporters, editors or producers (to help them prepare smart questions) and to the spokesperson (in this case the Premier ... to help him prepare accurate and timely answers). We also arrange delivery of b-roll video. In Beijing, some of the most basic steps (like copying and pasting information into an e-mail, or getting a video tape across town) seem to take at least three times as long as usual. And don't forget: You must have your triple-stamped approval and paperwork to accompany EVERYTHING (this is my simple way of summarizing unbelievable, unexpected bureaucracy that accompanies most working hours -- but it's worth it all when you turn on CNBC and find your client interview went well).

For August 12, the team was all hands on deck at the Beijing International Media Center (BIMC), a haven for more than 10,000 reporters who could not get the official Olympic media accreditation for various reasons. It was hard work, but more than 25 TV cameras rolled -- including Chicago's NBC affiliate (look for their clip here, with the headline "Premier offers advice, eh?") and I don't know how many Chinese TV stations -- when the Premier took the stage to announce the International Media Center plan for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Perhaps the most interesting and satisfying media pitch thus far came to us by great timing. While enduring Beijing's summer heat just before our BIMC press event, I was waiting by security to greet our Chicago TV guests. A couple of young South American reporters with radio microphones passed through security, and after an impromptu pin trade negotiation, we also negotiated a live radio interview for the Premier to appear on W Radio, which is based in Colombia and airs across the Western Hemisphere. We were able to tune in live and listen to this phone interview, which involved a radio host (dare I say/write Latin America's answer to Bob Edwards) in Colombia, the Premier in Beijing, and other radio correspondents asking questions to the Premier from New York, Miami and Europe. !Que Bueno!

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