The Learning Journey

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The Learning Journey

Case Study: The Learning Journey

The Learning Journey opened its doors in 1995 with the mission of providing every parent affordable, high quality educational materials to ensure a successful start in school for their children. Since then, The Learning Journey has been designing and manufacturing an exclusive line of award-winning children’s interactive educational products. All products at The Learning Journey encourage learning and develop confidence as they enhance a child’s potential. With The Learning Journey’s products, children have fun while learning and parents and educators know they have the right quality educational products for their children.

Challenge: The Learning Journey had never conducted a public relations campaign and were seeking to generate buzz about their products online, in print and on social media. McKendall Communications was brought on board to reach out to top tier media about The Learning Journey and their award-winning educational products and generate much needed awareness.

Action: McKendall Communications achieved this goal for The Learning Journey through a number of different media outreach programs including national trade shows, holiday-focused programs, local media outreach, and new product launches. Over several holiday seasons, McKendall Communications was able to secure placements for The Learning Journey’s products in the top Holiday Gift Guides leading to an increase in sales over the holiday season. We have also represented The Learning Journey to media at key trade shows including New York Toy Fair, ASTRA Marketplace, and ABC Expo. We scheduled appointments for booth tours for top bloggers, TV and print media and met with key media. We worked with The Learning Journey executives to develop media campaigns around key product launches to the media and coordinated reviews and giveaways.

Results: McKendall Communications has been successful in raising awareness for The Learning Journey and their educational toys through all our campaigns for over three years.

Examples of the coverage we secured for The Learning Journey includes Yahoo Finance, Midget Momma’s, and Your Modern Family, and ABC15 in Phoenix.

A-Line Partners

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Case Study: A-Line Partners

Established in 2014, A-Line Partners is an independent retail research firm providing the investment community with detailed, methodical research gathered directly at the store level. A-Line partners engages a team of researchers that visit publicly traded retailers in major malls across the country on a weekly basis. This information is then aggregated to provide an accurate and detailed picture of what is actually happening at the store level nationally.

A-Line Partners founder, Gabriella Santaniello, wanted to generate exposure for herself and her company as experts on everything retail-related. And to be positioned as a leader in identifying business trends and retail psychology beyond the spreadsheet numbers.

McKendall Communications prepared a comprehensive public relations plan that kicked off with a media tour in New York to meet with key retail reporters at influential media outlets that cover the retail industry.

Challenge: Gabriella was an unknown entity in the retail media world and we did not have a specific media “hook” to tie to our visits to New York.

Tactics: The first and most important tactic was to create a media list that included the movers and shakers who cover the retail industry. Then, we drafted a compelling pitch letter that provided information on Gabriella’s unique background combining finance, fashion and retail. Finally, we conducted intensive one-on-one follow up to secure meetings with those key media during the two days spent in New York.

Results: McKendall Communications was able to secure appointments with retail reporters at Bloomberg News, Business Insider, New York Post, WWD and Wall Street Journal. As a result of these meetings, Gabriella has been quoted extensively by these and other reporters who have seen her comments in these outlets.

Following this successful media tour, McKendall Communications has conducted media tours in Los Angeles and Boston as well as additional visits to New York. From the rise of Instagram fashion influencers to the demise of the bralette, Gabriella continues to be a go-to expert on all things retail-related.

Recent articles include Reuters, New York Post, and Bloomberg.


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Case Study: 94Fifty – International CES 2014 in Review

Summary: The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball was regarded as one of the most innovative products at the International CES 2014.  Leading into the show, we carried the momentum from the press generated at launch into the show – creating buzz for InfoMotion at CES.  Media enjoyed the opportunity to see the 94Fifty up close and the chance to actually improve their basketball skills!

The PR objectives for CES were to position the 94Fifty as the best new product at CES and manage media coverage pre-, on-site and post-show. Throughout the show journalists and attendees noted they had seen the coverage of 94Fifty leading up to the show and were excited to get their hands on the ball. During the show we met with more than 150 media resulting in more than 120 stories including in top-tier media such as USA Today, two placements on Yahoo!, Fast Company, Market Watch, ABC News, Wall Street Journal, Venture Beat, Los Angeles Times, and more.

The campaign has generated more than 316 million media impressions to date.

Key Message Playback: The majority of coverage has been positive, with many reporters praising the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball as an innovative product out of CES and its usefulness as a training tool.

Key quotes include:

Enter the 94Fifty basketball, which is fitted with sensors to teach you more about your shooting. All information is shared via an accompanying iPhone app, but to turn the ball on? You just start dribbling. – Fast Company

This smart basketball with 9 sensors will train you to shoot like Kobe Bryant. – Venture Beat

Some of the most dramatic innovations in fitness tracking aren’t even worn on your body. The 94Fifty … combine data to track arc, spin, and force when you shoot and dribble. – Yahoo!

The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball is described as ‘the world’s smartest basketball.’ It’s designed to be a digital coach to help you get better at shooting and handling the ball. – KABC-TV (Los Angeles)

You’re having a lot of fun, but are you improving your basketball skills? Thanks to a new connected basketball, now you can see where you dominate — and where you need to improve. –  Sports Illustrated Kids

Startup 94Fifty’s $300 Bluetooth-connected basketball bounced onto the scene earlier this year for iOS devices. – USA Today

The smart basketball measures players’ skills, telling them the angle of their shots or the force of their dribble, among other stats. – ABC News

Key Learnings/Observations:

  • Securing coverage pre-show helped generate buzz and word of mouth for the 94Fifty and generated positive media interest
  • Many media were reluctant to schedule 1:1 interview times at the show due to the large size and the various convention halls, being flexible on-site was helpful in maintaining a full schedule of media interviews
  • Participating in pre-show media only events including PepCom with TI and Bluetooth SIG event helped media scope out the product prior to being on the show floor
  • On-going communication with CES & CEA PR staff prior to the show, as well as meeting with them on-site on Monday helped increase exposure

Completed Tactics:

  • Developed and distributed a CES press release and updated the fact sheet, featured the press materials in an online press kit with Business Wire, the site LaunchIt, and placed fact sheet in South Hall media room
  • Pitched media ahead of CES to secure one-on-one booth interviews and stop-bys
  • Managed media on the show floor and on-site media interview schedule

Ongoing Tactics/Next Steps: Actively following-up with short-lead media to secure review and feature coverage.

Hypotheses: Launching the product at the beginning of holiday season allowed us to have product features that stood out from the busy holiday gift guides and CES coverage. While some media only wanted to focus on products never seen before at the show, many were excited to test it out once they understood what it was, ultimately resulting in continued coverage for the 94Fifty and post-holiday excitement.

Crazy Cart by Razor

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Case Study: Crazy Cart From Razor

The Ultimate Drifting Machine Provides Go Cart and Crazy Cart Drive Modes!

Razor USA LLC, a leader in the toy industry, is known for delivering innovative, youthful products with exceptional play value.  The company was founded in 2000 with the introduction of its now legendary Razor kick scooter, which transformed childhood outdoor fun.  Razor products are now available worldwide, with a full range of wheeled goods such as kick scooters, electric scooters, caster-driven ride-ons and electric-powered mini-motorcycles and go-karts.

In 2013 Razor introduced the Crazy Cart, the ultimate driving machine. The Crazy Cart has two driving modes – Go Cart or Crazy Cart and the driver can choose on the fly.  The Crazy Cart can drive forward, reverse, sideways, diagonally and everything in between.

Challenge: We were brought on board to generate media buzz for this relatively high-priced product for the holiday season.  The challenge was to make this high ticket item break through the clutter and make it into holiday gift guides.

Action: We enlisted a multi-pronged approach to building consumer awareness for the Crazy Cart during this key holiday selling season.  Since the product was launched late in the season, this was accomplished through short-lead media outreach, in addition to reaching out to editors at holiday gift guides.  We also provided media outreach support for a NY media tour for the Crazy Cart to provide key media outlets a chance to try it out before it hit shelves.

Results:  We were successful in getting widespread coverage for Crazy Cart and Razor.  The NY media tour included appointments with top national media such as ABC News and TIME for Kids, as well as local media including Newsday’s Kidsday and top bloggers such as  Several trade publications also attended the event.  The holiday outreach was amazingly successful as well, reaching top tier media such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, MTV Geeks, Café Mom and  The Crazy Cart was also highlighted in multiple holiday gift guides and reviewed by top bloggers.

IDEA World Fitness Convention

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Case Study: IDEA World Fitness Convention

IDEA World Fitness Convention took place August 14-17, 2014 and brought over 12,000 fitness professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world to the Anaheim Convention Center for four days of fitness and fun, it featured the highest-quality education, the most well respected experts in the field, and all the latest programs, workouts, products and equipment to keep fitness professionals up-to-date on new developments in the industry.

In addition to offering over 350 health and fitness sessions and high-energy rock concert style group workouts with leading fitness celebrities like Jillian Michaels “the world’s toughest trainer”, and pro-football trainer and fitness entrepreneur, Todd Durkin, IDEA World also featured an inspirational keynote by well-known competitive swimmer, Diana Nyad, as she received the prestigious Jack LaLanne award. The Jack LaLanne award is given to an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution in the areas of fitness, nutrition and wellness by promoting the benefits of exercise and healthy eating, and who has inspired the world to fitness through his or her work in the media or public eye.  Augie Nieto also gave an inspirational and informative speech at the convention’s opening ceremony about his battle with ALS.

Challenge: McKendall Communications was challenged with creating media buzz for this huge event. Our goals were to increase the number of media members attending the convention using press passes, secure pre-event stories, increase the number of Expo passes that were distributed, secure post-event stories and make sure that all coverage included a link to the Ideafit website.

Action: We achieved these goals through a multi-pronged media relations campaign. We utilized key fitness experts such as Tony Horton, Tara Stiles and Cassey Ho for interviews with targeted media. We also sent targeted pitch letters to specific outlets and distributed on-going press releases. Some of our targets included baby boomer media, technology media and fitness media. We engaged key fitness bloggers to attend the event and write about it on their blogs.   We worked with exhibitors to highlight new product introductions.

Results: The media presence at the convention was on par with our objectives. In addition to on site media, we also had pre-event stories in outlets such as which included an interview with Tony Horton, Housewife Glamour, including an interview with Tara Stiles and Buzz Bus Tour. Some post-event coverage included Huffington Post, The Fitnessista and a segment on KABC-TV.

Factory Entertainment at San Diego Comic-Con

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Case Study: Factory Entertainment at San Diego Comic-Con International


Established in 2009 by industry veterans, Factory Entertainment designs, creates and markets iconic licensed toys and collectibles based on motion pictures, television shows, recording artists, and other pop culture luminaries. Throughout the year, Factory Entertainment debuts new high-end collectible items inspired by the year’s hottest properties including Deadpool, DC, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Jurassic World, Ghostbusters, and others.

Factory Entertainment hired McKendall Communications to provide strategy and consultation surrounding the debut of new high-end collectible products debuting at several national and international trade shows, including San Diego Comic-Con International.

San Diego Comic-Con is the preeminent comic convention in the world. This four-day event draws on average 200,000 attendees annually from across the globe to explore over a million square feet of space; to take part in a massive programming schedule featuring comics and all aspects of the popular arts; anime, film screenings, meet-and-greet opportunities, award ceremonies, and academic presentations, as well as art shows, costume competitions and portfolio reviews.

Challenge: In an environment rich in media opportunities, our task was to set Factory Entertainment apart from the rest amidst the daily din of vast numbers of presenters, all vying for the Comic-Con media spotlight. We generated media buzz and secured major placements for Factory Entertainment in local, national and international media.

Tactics: We succeeded for our client by employing a number of methods. First, we created a media relations plan that generated excitement about Factory Entertainment’s new products and encouraged booth visits by members of the media.

Second, we conducted a large-scale, media outreach campaign both nationally and internationally. We highlighted Factory Entertainment’s line of Comic-Con exclusive products, as well as a book signing by William Shatner (Captain Kirk of Star Trek) at the Factory Entertainment booth during the event. We capitalized on this event and used the opportunity to meet Mr. Shatner as an enticement to members of the media, and leveraged this opportunity as a natural inroad to get media attention for our client. We conducted outreach to all members of the press attending Comic-Con and also relied upon our own relationships with a stable of key media contacts.


Results:   McKendall Communications exceeded its media relations goals. We booked over 30 media booth visits over the course of the event and secured top tier placements in major media as a result of our outreach, including the Associated Press, MTV, The Nerdist, Us Weekly Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, and local affiliates in Los Angeles and San Diego. The outcome of McKendall Communications’ efforts resulted in an eye-popping total of over 206 million impressions.

Franklin Sports

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Case Study: Official NFL Kids Costume sets from Franklin Sports


Franklin Sports jumps into Halloween fun!

Franklin Sports got its start in 1946 as a regional brand of Sporting Goods products. In the 1960’s, Franklin brought the innovative idea of centering a complete line of products on a single athlete – Joe Namath. Over the years Franklin has affiliated with the best in sports including world class athletes like Sugar Ray Leonard, David Robinson, Dan Marino, Don Mattingly and more.

In 1983, Franklin got together with Mike Schmidt to create the original and iconic Franklin Batting Glove. Since then, Franklin has been the batting glove of choice to the finest hitters in Baseball and is the Official Batting Glove of Major League Baseball.

Today, Franklin has a powerful range of products and marketing partnerships with professional athletes and high caliber brands such as MLB, NFL, NHL, NCAA, MLS, and Disney and offers a diverse range of products. Whatever the sport, the Franklin name means exciting products and great value.

Challenge: Franklin Sports wanted to generate media buzz and exposure for their Official NFL Kids Costume Sets during the Halloween season. Our goal at McKendall Communications was to get these costume sets in front of as many bloggers and TV outlets as possible as part of their yearly Halloween coverage.

Action: We achieved our goal by accessing all of our short term media contacts. Our strategy included sending pitch letters to the top mommy, daddy and parenting blogs, as well as to local TV stations in the top five NFL target markets, including Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and Denver. Finally, we conducted one-on-one follow up and sent costume samples when requested.

Results:   The media response to the Official NFL Kids Costume Sets was overwhelming. We had an enormous number of sample requests and met our target of getting the product in front of dozens of top tier bloggers. We secured placements in over 25 blogs including Famadillo and Blogger Recommended Network, totaling over one million unique monthly visitors each.

Additionally, we received interest from several local television stations in Seattle and Denver; and toy expert, Elizabeth Werner, expressed interest in featuring the product line in a potential segment on the Dr. Oz Show.