DITTOE PR PUTS NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT ON LGBTQ+ SENIORS AND THEIR STORIES

About Watermark Retirement Communities

As one of the nation’s premier senior living communities, Watermark Retirement Communities leads the way in elder care innovation. Based in Tucson, Arizona, Watermark is a trailblazer in the development of transformative programs that support all aspects of well-being, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of its residents. In June 2019, all Watermark Retirement Communities committed to obtaining SAGE Platinum Credentials, the highest standard in LGBT+ senior care, and became the first nationwide senior living company to receive the certification. Watermark’s work with SAGE has expanded its knowledge and embraced diversity while providing a more fulfilling future for residents and associates, families, visitors and guests.

About Not Another Second

Not Another Second is the first in a national series of cultural awareness campaigns that acknowledges the sacrifices and hardships of 12 LGBT+ seniors who lost years in the closet while sharing wisdom with younger generations who may be scared of coming out. The campaign aimed to serve as a rallying cry to younger generations for a more accepting future. The stories of these 12 LGBT+ elders – which include a former politician, Stonewall survivor, Black Panther, and military veteran – were told through a series of portraits, video interviews, and a short documentary to celebrate their beauty and humanity. 

The campaign was originally conceived by RXM Creative who was inspired by Watermark’s commitment to become SAGE platinum-certified and read a few of the quotes from seniors describing the years they lost not living as their full, authentic selves. The idea that people had to wait decades until they felt fully comfortable, embraced, and celebrated struck a chord with RXM Creative, and that’s how the Not Another Second project was born.

The Challenge

Dittoe PR began its partnership with Watermark Retirement Communities in February 2020 for the June 2020 launch of Not Another Second. The interactive art gallery would debut during a media event at Watermark’s newest senior living community in Brooklyn, New York. But once the pandemic hit in March 2020, and with New York being the epicenter for COVID-19, Watermark decided to pause on its launch until further notice. 

Dittoe PR reengaged with Watermark in November 2020 with the goal of relaunching the campaign. Together, it was decided to have a socially distanced grand opening event and campaign launch in January 2021. However, the challenge remained the same: getting media to attend a grand opening event in the country’s epicenter during a global pandemic. This was on top of a busy news cycle with the upcoming inauguration of President Joe Biden. 

The Solution

Media Relations

After restarting its partnership with Watermark Retirement Communities, Dittoe PR began media relations efforts in early December to drum up as much awareness and interest as possible. Dittoe PR focused on national media reporters who covered LGBTQ+ issues as well as local media and art and LGBTQ+ trade publications. Dittoe PR also proposed having an official Media Day one week before the official exhibit launch on Tuesday, Jan. 16, with daily preview events for other media and influencers the following days throughout the week. This outreach was separate from the team’s other media relations efforts, focusing solely on national writers who lived in the New York area and local media.  

COVID-19 Communications Plan

Dittoe PR worked closely with Watermark to create a COVID-19 plan, which included the process of COVID-19 screenings, social distancing, personal conduct onsite, and additional measures. The official Media Day and each following Preview Event was capped at 10 people, which meant the team had to be very detail-oriented with who to invite and for what day/time slot. Dittoe PR also arranged on-site interviews with some of the seniors who were a part of the Not Another Second campaign to secure top coverage and highlight the importance of the campaign.

Other Virtual/Digital Alternatives

For those who still did not feel safe attending the event, RXM Creative created an interactive website where individuals could still watch the documentary and view the portraits as if they were onsite. Dittoe PR assembled a detailed press kit with all campaign assets (participant bios, fact sheets on every campaign partner, portraits, backgrounders, etc.) so reporters could produce stories even without attending the event or seeing the exhibit in person.

Results

Dittoe PR began media outreach in December ahead of the holidays with trade, local and national media. This resulted in some immediate placements but followed up heavily the first week of January after the holidays and before the inauguration. Coverage continued to come in before the initial grand opening event and then after the exhibit opened to the public. Dittoe PR also facilitated both virtual and on-site interviews with media members and campaign participants.

From December 2020 to March 2021, Dittoe PR generated: 

  • 160+ media placements 
  • 2.9 billion media impressions 
  • $26.9 in advertising equivalency 

Coverage highlights included placements in the following publications: 

Due to the success of Dittoe PR’s media relations efforts, the exhibit sold out three weeks after the initial launch and extended its stay at the Watermark community through May 2021. The campaign also received recognition on social media, getting a shout-out from Chasten Buttiegieg on Twitter. 

It was through Dittoe PR’s media relations success with Not Another Second that led the agency to continue working with one of the campaign partners, SAGE. Dittoe PR is continuing to work closely with RXM Creative as well for award nominations with the Webby Awards, Cannes, Clio and more. 

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