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Zeppos & Associates, Inc.
2010 Paragon Awards
Awarded in May 2011 by the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Public Affairs - Bringing the Marriott to Downtown Milwaukee

Bringing the Marriott to Downtown Milwaukee When a Milwaukee developer realized the City's unelected Historic Preservation Commission could derail plans to replace five nearly blighted buildings with a $50 million, job-creating luxury hotel in the heart of Downtown, it turned to Zeppos & Associates to help build public support and secure approval. The Zeppos team developed and executed a fast-paced, high-energy public affairs plan, including grassroots organizing, lobbying, a comprehensive public hearing strategy, media relations, a new website, social media tactics and other elements to achieve a decisive win. As a result of this multifaceted public affairs effort, the Mayor and other high-ranking City officials, media, influential businesses and organizations and the general public aggressively championed the cause, propelling the hotel proposal to the Milwaukee Common Council, which voted overwhelmingly to approve it. Groundbreaking is set for later this year.

Judge’s comment: “Very successful public affairs campaign with impactful results.”

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AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
PR Tactics: Media Relations Tactic/News Conference - Bradley Center Scoreboard Unveiling

Bradley Center Scoreboard Unveiling When Milwaukee’s Bradley Center – home to the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball team and the Admirals minor-league hockey team – put some of its first-ever public funding toward replacing a failing JumboTron with a state-of-the-art scoreboard system that would help generate new sponsorship revenue and energize the fan experience, it turned to Zeppos & Associates to unveil the board to the community. In a span of just a few days, the Zeppos team planned and executed a big-league news conference that drew a significant mainstream and social media response, featured an exciting audio-visual demonstration and “behind the screens” look at the board, reinforced that the Center was spending public money wisely and built big excitement leading into the 2010-11 sports season.

Judge’s comment: “Very thorough, complete, with clear and concise objectives. Very well done!”

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AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Media Relations - Cousins Subs Moo Tour & Moo-la-palooza 2010

Cousins Subs Moo Tour & Moo-la-palooza 2010 When Cousins Subs wanted to maximize buzz for its biggest annual event – Moo-la-palooza 2010, the Wisconsin State Fair mooing contest and a fundraiser for 4-H – it asked Zeppos & Associates to help. Building on the sandwich chain’s presence in top state media markets, Wisconsin’s beloved dairy heritage and the unmatched visual and audio potential of folks of all ages belting out their best Bessie bellows, the Zeppos team developed a multifaceted media relations program targeting TV, radio, print, online and social media. Highlights included a statewide “Moo Tour” (the mooing version of “American Idol’s” audition rounds) and a pitch strategy that netted results worth mooing about – a huge herd of contestants and major local, state and even national and international media exposure for Cousins, Moo-la-palooza and the 10-year-old “Moo” champ.

Judge’s comment: “Very creative, smart and cohesive campaign. Big impact here for a budget that wasn’t huge.”

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AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Programs: Marketing Consumer Products/Services - Cousins Subs New State Fair Fave: Deep-Fried Cheese Steak on a Stick

Cousins Subs New State Fair Fave: Deep-Fried Cheese Steak on a Stick In 2010, Cousins Subs turned to Zeppos & Associates to build buzz – and sales – of its new Wisconsin State Fair offering, Deep-Fried Cheese Steak on a Stick. Stretching a tight $6,000 budget, the Zeppos/Cousins team blended traditional and social media, limited advertising, an easy contest and more with results that surpassed expectations. Cousins saw long lines at its State Fair store, a 58.1% jump in sales and had to reorder product twice. Deep-Fried Cheese Steak on a Stick generated 1.91 million positive media impressions, touched more than a quarter-million social media users and earned state and national accolades as one of the best new State Fair foods in the country.

Judge’s comment: “You did a great job breaking through the clutter of the fair and provided great results!”

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AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
PR Tactics: Pitch and Placement - Teasing Trade Secret Law

Teasing Trade Secret Law Zeppos & Associates worked with the Quarles & Brady law firm to pitch and place an article on trade secret law. The key was to make the mundane legal specialty into an interesting pitch and article that would interest a publication and its readers. The firm did that by referencing famous recipes like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Coca-Cola, and asking the reader to consider what would have happened if those companies hadn't protected those trade secrets many years ago.

Judge’s comment: “A thoughtful execution grounded in clear objectives.”

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AWARD OF MERIT
PR Tactics: Special Events - An Event Fit for a President

Special Events - An Event Fit for a President Following an unexpected, after-hours phone call from an executive with a high-tech Milwaukee-area manufacturer, and with only a few days to prepare, the team at Zeppos & Associates hit the ground running to help arrange a successful visit from President Barack Obama that generated widespread media coverage and worldwide exposure for ZBB Energy, a Menomonee Falls-based solar energy company.

Judges praised the event’s creativity.

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AWARD OF MERIT
PR Programs: Integrated Communications - The Briggs & Stratton Battle of the Bands

The Briggs & Stratton Battle of the Bands When Briggs & Stratton wanted to raise awareness of its worldwide online Battle of the Bands, where the winner plays on the Big Backyard Stage at Summerfest, it turned to Zeppos & Associates to create an integrated communications plan. Focusing on helping Briggs connect the contest with young people and potential customers, the firm developed a viral video concept using the previous year’s winners as spokespeople for the contest. Fun videos were created to encourage bands to enter and fans to vote. Purposely shot at the Summerfest grounds in the brutal cold of February, the videos included the band performing in the snow with amplifiers run by a Briggs generator, getting buried in snow by a Briggs-powered snow blower and sitting on Briggs lawnmower engines doing video podcasts. Social media interest in the videos helped boost Briggs’ Facebook friends by 20%, tripled Twitter followers, and generated more than 2,000 views on YouTube. Media coverage exceeded 3 million impressions worldwide bringing in a media value of 25 times the original budget. With more than 300,000 young people voting, Briggs declared the project a hit among the young people it set out to reach.

Judge’s comment: “The tactics were very creative and had great results.”

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AWARD OF MERIT
PR Tactics: Special Events - Celebrating the Arrival of Milwaukee's Newest Creative Arts Destination

Celebrating the Arrival of Milwaukee's Newest Creative Arts Destination When Milwaukee’s newest creative arts school – The Art Institute of Wisconsin – prepared to open its doors in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward, the school turned to Zeppos & Associates to coordinate a grand opening celebration during Milwaukee's Gallery Night. The event attracted hundreds of attendees, including elected officials, community and business leaders and others to mark the occasion in the school's new student art gallery. The evening was highlighted by an inaugural art exhibition featuring graphic design works from art students at Milwaukee's Bradley Tech High School, marking the first of what is sure to be many collaborations within Milwaukee's vibrant arts community.

Judges gave high marks to the quality of the event execution.

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AWARD OF MERIT
PR Tactics: Media Relations/Pitch - Milwaukee's New School for Creative Minds

Milwaukee's New School for Creative Minds When Milwaukee’s newest creative arts school – The Art Institute of Wisconsin – prepared to open its doors for the first day of classes, the school turned to Zeppos & Associates to generate positive media coverage in Milwaukee's largest daily newspaper. Through targeted outreach, the firm developed a media pitch that resulted in an education reporter and photographer from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel touring the school on the first day of classes, sitting in on lectures and conducting multiple interviews with students and instructors. The result was a front-page story alongside several color photographs, and the lead online feature story marking the school's official arrival to Milwaukee.

Judge’s comment: “Great approach!”

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AWARD OF MERIT
PR Programs: Integrated Communications - Cranberry Growers Go Green

Cranberry Growers Go Green In 2010, the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association - representing more than 250 cranberry growers statewide - turned to Zeppos & Associates with the goal of bringing media and other attention to Wisconsin cranberries and how the industry has worked to increase environmental, economic and social responsibility over the past 20 years. The result was an extremely successful integrated communications campaign that used careful messaging, internal communications, good pitching skills, the release of scientific studies, detailed event planning, government relations, strategic use of budget and more to tell the industry's sustainability story and earn significant trade, local and national media interest.

Judge’s comment: “Great leverage of association partnerships and research!”

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