Strategic Communications

Deepwater Horizon Response: Bringing a Big Idea into Play

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis, the owner of an overseas shipping company had an idea:  convert a supertanker the size of an aircraft carrier into an oil skimmer, and send it to the Gulf to help with the clean up.  The owner hired PRG to help secure federal approval to test the idea on the scene of the spill response.  The PRG team quickly organized an impromptu press conference that gave local media in Norfolk, VA a first glimpse of the potential solution – sparking a wave of national media interest.  The PRG team implemented an advocacy and public relations campaign to urge the Coast Guard to test the ship’s capabilities as quickly as possible.  Within three weeks after taking on the project, the PRG team secured agreement from National Incident Command to conduct a trial of the client’s ship at the site of the spill.  The PRG team generated well over 1,000 news stories globally, including features on the morning shows and nightly newscasts of all major U.S. networks and print outlets.

Product Safety Litigation Communication Support

When the plaintiffs’ bar targeted a popular outdoor recreational vehicle in an unprecedented public relations campaign to influence juries and jury pools and attract potential clients, the manufacturer turned to the PRG team.  The PRG team worked closely with the company’s in-house and external legal teams, as well as with its internal marketing and public relations group, to develop a comprehensive communications program that involved message and materials development, media training, traditional and new media outreach, advertising and public affairs.  PRG also developed a digital strategy to help protect the company’s brand against online attacks by the plaintiffs’ bar.  The result:  PRG’s program helped protect the company’s reputation while energizing the company’s customer base via grassroots activities to help defend the product.  The program also allowed the legal team to focus on defending the product in court while PRG handled all external litigation communications.  The company has been extremely successful in court and the online attacks and marketing efforts have all but disappeared.

An Added Weapon in Trade Cases

When a coalition of domestic shrimpers filed a trade case against imported shrimp from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam, American shrimp processors, the restaurant industry and importers opposing the case turned to the PRG team for assistance.  Striking on two fronts, the PRG team employed strategic communications and government relations to draw attention to the implications of the trade case for U.S. consumers, U.S. shrimp processors and the U.S. economy.  The team successfully generated dozens of editorials condemning the domestic shrimp producers’ case in newspapers that included The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.  PRG generated support from Members of Congress, who urged U.S. Commerce Department officials to bring an unbiased outcome to the dispute.  As in a number of similar trade cases, PRG’s work helped bring about a favorable decision that imposed relatively low import duties, far below what domestic petitioners had sought – allowing overseas producers to avoid being shut out of the U.S. market.