saint thomas academy

Saint Thomas Academy wanted to improve their image as elite college preparatory school.

Experimental Vehicle Team’s Safer Electric Motorcycle

Objective: Heighten the visibility, notoriety and respect of Saint Thomas Academy as an elite college preparatory school.

Approach: Publicize the Academy’s Experimental Vehicle Team’s ingenuity in developing a street-legal electric motorcycle with unique safety features for urban commuters. Leverage the country’s high gas prices and the project’s association with MIT to generate media interest.

Renown’s Responsibilities:

  • Generate media coverage by announcing milestones in the development process, including the receipt of a Lemelson-MIT Foundation InvenTeams grant, a TEKNE Award for the team’s advisor, and the national unveiling of the motorcycle at MIT
  • Identify national and local media pitch targets
  • Create individual pitches tailored to specific media outlets
  • Generate interest with media, coordinate interviews and fulfill needs for stories
  • Train team members for media interviews
  • Secure coverage on CNN; coordinate taping and logistics
  • Write and produce complete media kit with news release, fact sheets, FAQs and photos
  • Draw media to a special media event with the team
  • Investigate and pursue off-beat opportunities with big rewards

Results: Renown Marketing Communications’ efforts generated over 3.5 million impressions in broadcast and print coverage from coast to coast, sparked by a CNN segment airing on American Morning, Headline News and on the Web. CNN affiliates across the country and in Canada rebroadcast the segment for additional visibility.

Persistent pitching and follow-up led to noteworthy placements in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market. Team members were featured guests on two TV news magazine shows and a live radio broadcast at the Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota Public Radio produced a four-minute segment on the safer electric motorcycle, posting additional content on its Web site. All of the community newspapers in the vicinity of the school ran a feature story on the boys and their bike. The Experimental Vehicle Team was named to the METRO 100, a listing of 100 things, people and places loved by METRO’s editorial staff (October 2008 issue).

In addition to traditional media coverage, the team garnered coverage on many online motorcycle, engineering and automotive e-zines and blogs.