An Olympic Achievement

Carrabassett Valley Academy

Carrabassett Valley Academy Sochi Olympic Athletes Media Campaign

Goal:
Position Carrabassett Valley Academy as a top-notch ski and snowboard academy that has consistently produced Olympic athletes throughout its 32-year history

Situation Analysis:
Five Carrabassett Valley Academy alumni – three athletes and two coaches – would be representing the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Nancy Marshall Communications (NMC) saw this as an excellent opportunity to elevate awareness of the academy and its offerings among New England’s ski community, including the coaches and parents of promising elementary school-age skiers looking for the best place to foster their young talent.

Methods:
NMC drafted a press release about the alumni who were headed to Sochi, noting that the academy would be represented at the Olympics yet again. The agency then distributed the release to sports reporters and ski writers throughout New England and followed through with strategic phone calls placed to all top-tier media as well as the agency’s many personal contacts in the regional press.

To support the content of the press release, NMC created an Olympic media guide profiling the team members and coaches in more detail. It was sent to the media along with the press release.

Results:
The media relations initiative produced stellar results, including a feature on the academy’s alumni and past Olympic medalists in The Boston Globe. Similar feature articles ran in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, and Morning Sentinel, as well as in a number of regional weekly papers. Another coup was a lengthy spot that aired on Maine Public Radio about the Carrabassett Valley Academy athletes, also noting that the academy had produced an impressive 12 Olympic athletes since its founding in 1982. The Eastern Ski Writers Association newsletter, read by many of the most influential ski journalists in the U.S., also published an article based on the contents of NMC’s release.

Kate Punderson, the academy’s head of school, said of the agency and its work,

"NMC has been an extremely valuable communications, public relations, media relations and brand awareness partner for Carrabassett Valley Academy. Their guidance and industry connections were especially important during the past six months of lead up to the Olympics. Winter Olympic years heighten the interest in winter snow sports, and Nancy and her team knew the best ways to fully leverage the Olympics for the benefit of our academy."