The corporate communications team at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates showed off its chops last week with a couple of nifty PR placements in national outlets.
First was a two-part Q&A-style interview with CEO Ted Baseler that appeared Aug. 28 and Aug. 29 in Shanken News Daily, a daily email news service covering the global spirits, wine and beer business. It’s published by M. Shanken Communications, the guys that put out Wine Spectator among other traditional media publications.
There wasn’t a lot of heavy lifting here – the questions were very high-level and predictable, and the responses were tight, crisp and on message. Baseler demonstrated again that he’s a terrific spokesperson – articulate and conversational without sounding phony or overly prepped.
The interview was so good that you could easily assume that the interview was conducted by email and the answers were carefully reworked and massaged by the PR team before being attributed to the CEO.
However, having heard Ted speak numerous times, I’d bet even money that he did the interview on the fly, via phone.
The second PR placement likely made Ste. Michelle’s PR agency and in-house corp-comm teams salivate – a story in the New York Times’ business section about the company’s new advertising campaign.
While some industry pundits have picked apart the ad campaign’s direction and content, you can’t quibble with the PR impact – for better, for worse, the NYT is considered one of the holy grails of PR placements. This article is great exposure for Ste. Michelle’s Seattle-based ad agency, Cole & Weber, and a nice hit for Ste. Michelle in the newspaper of record, so to speak, for the nation’s advertising industry.
Placements like these definitely catch the eye of Ste. Michelle’s corporate parent, Altria Group, and the Wall Street investment community, and that may be the most important result after all.