GroundFloor Media Receives Gold Marcom Award for Social Networking Campaign

PR agency recognized for groundbreaking work with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

DENVER, CO – (December 23, 2008) – GroundFloor Media, Inc., a Denver-based public relations agency, was awarded a Gold MarCom Award for its “What If? Colorado” social networking campaign developed and executed for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The MarCom Awards is an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals. The Gold Award is presented to entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. Of the more than 5,000 entries in this year’s competition, 18 percent were honored with Gold.

The What If? Colorado campaign utilized a variety of guerilla marketing tactics, including a social networking program with a reality competition to educate Coloradans about pandemic influenza and the need for emergency preparedness. Through an aggressive social networking campaign including blog and media outreach, Coloradans were encouraged to submit video “auditions” to enter the What If? Colorado reality competition, a multi-day event where nine Colorado residents lived together in a house and faced a variety of challenges designed to test their emergency preparedness skills and knowledge. Throughout the summer, video auditions were uploaded to YouTube.com answering the question “In an emergency, what five items could you not live without and why?” and reality contestants were selected from among the video submissions

After a competitive online voting campaign, nine strangers from across the state were selected to meet for the first time in downtown Denver at the What If? Colorado reality house. For three days, a production company followed the contestants as they faced a multitude of emergency preparedness and influenza issues, including “Grocery Grab” and “Glo Germ” challenges. Video footage of the challenges and the contestants’ testimonials from the three-day competition were posted online at www.WhatIfColorado.com/episodes, sent to bloggers and traditional media and provided daily to TV stations in Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.

“It’s no secret that public awareness campaigns initiated by government agencies have a reputation for being a bit stale and predictable. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment wanted to break out of this mold and take a fresh and unexpected approach to educating the public about two important issues: emergency preparedness and pandemic flu awareness,” said Dana Erpelding, Emergency Preparedness and Response Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “GroundFloor Media leapt to the top of our pile when reviewing agencies because of the exciting twist they put on the topics, as well as the way they were creatively able to maximize our budget while combining public relations with other traditional and emerging media.”

In April 2008, GroundFloor Media launched its GroundFloor Social Media (GFsM) program. Through the GFsM program, the agency aims to close the social media gap, introducing its clients to the benefits of social media and helping them develop a strategic program that encourages listening and then two-way conversation and authentic, transparent representation on the Internet. The GFsM team has extensive experience integrating social media programs into GroundFloor Media’s clients’ overall public relations campaigns and has done so with clients including Qdoba Mexican Grill, SmartyPig, Bellco Credit Union, America On the Move and the aforementioned Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

According to Laura Love, founder and president of GroundFloor Media, “Social media has transformed consumers from content readers to content publishers. This shift requires not only a new line of thinking for public relations teams, but a new set of strategies, tactics and metrics.” The team at GroundFloor Media understands that these mediums play a crucial role in the success of many public relations campaigns and should not be ignored.

About GroundFloor Media GroundFloor Media, an award-winning public relations firm, is one of the fastest-growing companies in Colorado. Recently recognized by The Holmes Report as the Best Boutique Agency to Work For and one of three finalists named to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award, GroundFloor Media is no stranger to accolades and boasts a roster of notable clients from a variety of industries. Staffed entirely by senior-level PR pros, GroundFloor Media’s clients include Qdoba Mexican Grill, Point B Solutions, Bellco Credit Union, Rally Software Development, Morton’s The Steakhouse, CH2M HILL, Colorado Garden Show Inc. and Children's Hospital Colorado. For more information, call 303.865.8110 and for a complete list of clients and capabilities, visit www.GroundFloorMedia.com.