Case Study: The Valerie Fund
 
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Case Study: The Valerie Fund
Major League Miracles: A case study in publicizing a special event Sports Dinner featuring the ’69 “Miracle Mets,” 25 years later. This was one for the  record books!

Background
The Valerie Fund (TVF): Five New Jersey Hospital-based Centers comprising one of the nation’s largest medical networks for pediatric oncology/hematology patients. When Berry Ecke Associates (BEA) came on board, the annual Sports Dinner, The Valerie Fund’s major fundraising activity of the year, was only a month away. The charge was to hit a homerun for TVF kids — and BEA pulled through. 

Challenges
1. Six personalities to profile. A common nemesis for p.r. firms is limited information. In this instance, BEA had six  public figures, members of the 1969 “Amazing” Mets, to publicize. On the one hand, the multiple personalities gave us flexibility; on the other, they had very different interview strengths. In addition, while they supported The Valerie Fund cause, they were not prepared to be spokespersons. 
2. Scheduling. BEA had the delicate task of synchronizing schedules among the Mets and media, getting the right personality to the right place at the right time. And it all had to be done before the dinner, less than one month away.
3. One shot opportunity. This was the big one. BEA wanted to help TVF to capitalize on this unusual opportunity to get out its name and to publicize its good work. 

18th Annual Celebrity Sports Dinner for the Valerie Fund
Back row, from left: Tommie Agee; Ed Kranepool; Ed Charles; Donn Clendenon; Bud Harrelson; Tug McGraw;
Art Shamsky
The Berry Ecke Approach  
On this 25th anniversary of the victorious ’69 Mets, sportswriters throughout the state were interested in their stories. BA lined up potential media, with an emphasis on sports writers and sportscasters; we drafted feature concepts tailored to the various publications; we developed a press kit for distribution both pre-event and at the Sports Dinner; and we prepared interview questions and scripts appropriate for radio and television appearances. Most importantly, we  scheduled a Valerie Fund spokesperson to accompany each Met, so that TVF’s important message would not be lost.  Always, we prepared the Mets with TVF messages before each appearance. Our theme, that the world is filled with Miracle Workers, effectively linked the Major League victory of the Miracle Mets with the major league victories of TVF in its fight again childhood cancer and blood disorders. 

Results  
Championship Marketing, the agency responsible for publicizing the Mets 25th anniversary, was thrilled! No other anniversary Met event during the entire year generated the level of publicity we had produced for the Amazing Mets and TVF. TVF sports dinner was a sell out, and press coverage for TVF was, well, amazing, too. We placed major features in the Daily Record and Sports Collectors Digest. Media interviews included MIX 105, WNEW, WOR Rambling with Gambling, WFAN, K-Rock and Good Day New York. Our PSAs were blitzing the airwaves. Twenty photo captions featuring TVF kids posing with the Mets were distributed to local papers. Pickup was excellent. But it wasn’t a  miracle that did it. It was hard work and the BEA personal touch. 


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