In September 2011, Comcast introduced Internet Essentials (IE), a program designed to help close the “digital divide” in the U.S. by providing $10 per month Internet service and $150 laptops to households with children who qualify for free or reduced school lunches. The program has proven to be immensely popular, benefiting an estimated 220,000 families nationwide.
In 2013, Comcast challenged Linhart PR with generating visibility of the program in its Mile High Region for the third consecutive year — no small task, considering that Internet Essentials had already been covered extensively by Colorado news media. What’s more, Comcast wanted to drive awareness of specific program enhancements that had been made for 2013, making fresh and creative thinking crucial to success.
Linhart PR used the following three-pronged approach to meet its goal of gaining regional attention for Internet Essentials:
• Create hyper-local media pitches to encourage coverage across a wide range of news outlets, from parenting columns and business outlets to sports broadcasts and technology blogs.
• Promote three media events — including one with Super-Bowl winning coach and Internet Essentials spokesperson Tony Dungy — to provide media with a direct call-to-action and visual.
• Use non-traditional and social tactics, including a promotional video featuring Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Tony Dungy, and others, to drive additional visibility and encourage new program enrollments.
Linhart PR’s launch of Internet Essentials in Colorado generated 52 stories and 2.1 million media impressions across TV, print, radio and Spanish-language media. Over the subsequent 16 months, Linhart PR was able to maintain consistent visibility of the program by generating an additional 35 media placements and more than 1 million new media impressions. Additionally, high-profile nonprofit organizations including the Boys and Girls Club and Mi Casa proudly featured the Internet Essentials video on their websites and social channels, creating additional awareness of the program among its core audience.