David Fantle Receives Award of Recognition

MADISON, Wis. (May 16, 2012) — The Wisconsin Department of Tourism along with its agency of record, Laughlin Constable, received multiple awards on Tuesday, May 15 at the 2012 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Paragon Awards. The Paragon Awards recognize outstanding work in public relations, honor creative and strategic excellence, and encourage a higher level of performance among public relations professionals.

The following awards were received in recognition of public relations achievement:

The “Travel Wisconsin and Pure Michigan Pair Up for ‘Mittengate’” program received an award of excellence in the Crisis Communications – Implementation category. After a mitten shaped Wisconsin graphic was introduced as an element of Travel Wisconsin’s winter campaign, Michigan residents began a social media uproar claiming they were the mitten state. Traditional media picked up on the debate between fans from both states resulting in widespread national and international coverage. Travel Wisconsin worked closely with their colleagues at Pure Michigan to ease the controversy and turn the story into a positive one with a charitable mitten donation. In the end, “mittengate” resulted in 369 million impressions and the collection of 3,100 warm items for Wisconsin charities.

An award of excellence was given in the category of Social Media Tactics for the “Travel Wisconsin’s Destination: Lambeau Giveaway” tactic. In the fall of 2011, Laughlin Constable facilitated the partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, and one of sports' most prized franchises, the Green Bay Packers. As part of the partnership, Travel Wisconsin received tickets, sideline passes, and MVP Party Passes to a Packers home game. These coveted items were leveraged in a social media giveaway. The Destination: Lambeau Giveaway was the most successful giveaway to date for Travel Wisconsin with over 10,000 entries from 49 states and a 41 percent opt-in rate to receive future email communications from the brand.

An accompanying award of excellence was given in the category of Social Media Tactics for the “Travel Wisconsin’s Summer Fun Report” tactic. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism created a Facebook application called “The Summer Fun Report.” The application highlighted one fun Wisconsin event per day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the time period traditionally associated with the summer travel season. Traffic coming from the “Summer Fun Report” to Travel Wisconsin webpage spent an average of seven minutes on the site and viewed over seven pages per visit.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism snagged a final award of excellence in the category of Media Relations Tactic for the “Travel Wisconsin Press Kit” initiative. Two press kits were created and produced for deskside meetings with travel editors at top daily newspapers, leading consumer magazines, and freelance travel writers in varying parts of the country throughout 2011. The objectives were to provide media with information highlighting Wisconsin as a premier travel destination, build ongoing relationships with influential media, and ultimately generate media placements of all the fun things to do in Wisconsin.

An award of merit was given in the category of Integrated Communications – Government/Nonprofit for the “Hollywood Director and Wisconsin-native David Zucker Helps Bring ‘Fun’ to Wisconsin” program. With “fun” as the approved theme, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism secured Hollywood director and Wisconsin-native David Zucker to direct the TV spot for the winter campaign for Travel Wisconsin. Efforts included media relations, a press conference with Governor Walker and a social media giveaway.

An additional award of merit was also received in the Integrated Communications – Government/Nonprofit category for the “2011 Wisconsin Department of Tourism PR Campaign” plan. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Laughlin Constable developed an integrated media relations plan with the objective to generate third-party endorsements of the state’s many attractions, events and activities – all to help drive travelers to Wisconsin.

Prior to the start of the Paragon Awards ceremony, Deputy Secretary of Tourism David Fantle was honored with the Dorothy Thomas Black Award. The award recognizes sustained, superior performance in public relations and the lifetime achievement of a public relations professional who is a member of the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of PRSA.

“Dave’s talent for marketing and building relationships is truly blue-chip. He has tenacity, creativity and an endless pursuit to make work fun. I could not have asked to serve with a better Deputy, a more devoted guy and just an all around fun person,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.

Travelers looking for year-round Wisconsin getaway ideas, travel planning, events and free guides can discover their own fun at TravelWisconsin.com. You can also choose to “Like” us at Facebook.com/TravelWisconsin or follow along on Twitter at Twitter.com/TravelWI. And don’t forget to bring all the fun Wisconsin has to offer right to your fingertips by downloading the free Travel Wisconsin™ iPhone or Android app.

LC works for clients including Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Master Lock, Bon-Ton Stores, McDonald’s, Associated Bank, Aurora Health Care, The Skin Cancer Foundation, SERVPRO Industries and University of Illinois Medical Center. Laughlin Constable has seen dramatic growth of its digital services – websites, e-commerce, mobile, social, search – over the past few years as they become increasingly critical to the agency’s Full Circle Branding™ programs. For more information, visit www.laughlin.com and www.blog.laughlin.com.