Media Event Checklist

Successful Coke campaign media events can be planned fairly quickly using this checklist and the other materials in the activist kit. Let us know if we can be of assistance. Good luck and have fun!

1. Lead time/event planning: A group with experience in events may be able to plan and carry out this event within a week or two. If you want several groups or a large demonstration, then allow 3 to 4 weeks for planning.

2. Location/props: Attracting television and getting a good picture in the newspaper depend on good visuals. Here are three alternative possibilities that will work in most communities.

  • Post office - Hold a demonstration or news conference outside a post office. Bring empty Coke bottles ready to be mailed back, both individual bottles with the label and postage on it plus boxes with several empty bottles. Stringing empty bottles together also makes a good visual. If your groups or several groups decide to hold a demonstration, then make signs, bring sample letters to Coke and copies of campaign materials such as the action alert and fact sheet (see enclosed materials).

  • Coke bottling or distributing facility - Deliver empty bottles. Plan to use a location in front of the facility on public property, such as the sidewalk near an entrance. Use the same materials as mentioned above.

  • Grocery store - This location offers the opportunity to talk with customers and engage them in supporting the campaign on the spot, by signing a form letter to Coke and taking home the action alert with labels for mailing back empty bottles. Bring an ironing board instead of a table, on which you can hang signs, set up Coke bottles (full and empty), set out sample letters and other literature. Set-up near an entrance but do not block the entrance to the store.

Check with the post office, city hall, bottling/distributing facility or grocery store about restrictions on location. An event on public property may require a permit.

3. Timing: Mid-morning, between 10 and 11 AM, is the usually best. Monday is often a slow news day and may work to your advantage. Tuesday through Thursday are all good days. Check with other groups that may want to participate at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance of setting a firm date.

4. Participants/Spokesperson: Asking other organizations to join in the event may make it easier to create a local campaign and build credibility with the media. Participants could include local environmental groups, a non-profit recycling center, high school or college environmental groups or other local activists. It is best to identify one or two people in advance as media contacts or spokesperson.

One group is sufficient so long as several people join you at a news conference or at least 6-12 people come to a demonstration.

5. Media notification: Advance notification is essential for successful news coverage. It is best to:

  • Send out a media advisory via fax and/or mail several days to a week ahead of time. The advisory includes basic facts for the news editor/assignment desk, including: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY.
  • Make follow-up calls a day or two before the event to the Associated Press (ask them to put it on their "day book" calendar of events), newspapers (city desk), television (assignment desk) and radio (news director).
  • Call again the morning of the event, between 8 and 9 AM, when most final decisions are made by news organizations about assignments for the day.
  • Fax or deliver the news release to media who do not come to the event. It is important to deliver the release by mid-morning. You may need someone to handle this while the event is underway.
  • Make follow-up calls to media who did not attend the event.
6. News release/handouts: A draft news release is available that can be modified for your event and should include the basic who, what, when, where and why. Feel free to put it on your organization's letterhead. Please describe the Coke - Take It Back campaign as a project of your group and the national GrassRoots Recycling Network. The action alert and fact sheet are good attachments with the news release.

7. Event Planning Meeting: Organize at least one event planning meeting to lay out the schedule, divide up preparations, make signs and posters, phone bank to potential participants, go over directions to the event, and stuff envelopes with a flyer and directions for people who can not come to the meeting.

8. Calls to participants: Make follow-up calls to participants one week before the event, the day before the event, and reminder calls the day of the event. Ask everyone to be there at least 30 minutes before the time media are coming.

9. Tell GRRN! Clip newspapers and make a list of television or radio stations running stories on the event. Please send sharp copies of any newspaper stories to the GrassRoots Recycling Network, PO Box 49283, Athens GA 30604.

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