‘Hideaway in Rockford!’ Goes Viral
by Peter Shelton
Mar 10, 2011 | 8549 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ridgway PR Firm Scores Internet Hit

RIDGWAY – You may know Brian Scranton as a skier, a family man, the former marketing director for Chaco sandals or the current vice president of the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce.

Now with the release of a clever new video made by his public relations firm, GrahamSpencer, you can add viral media sensation to the list. Scranton is the managing director of GrahamSpencer West, based in Ridgway. GrahamSpencer East is in Rockford, Ill.

“Our client, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau, asked us to create a video that would help capitalize on the [news of] Wisconsin state senators’ recent hideaway in Rockford,” Scranton told The Watch. Those legislators, seeking to prevent a vote on controversial proposals by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, left the state capitol two weeks ago and traveled secretly across the Illinois state line to hide out in Rockford.

The video, which has been seen by some 92,000 viewers on-line and mentioned in a speech by Gov. Walker himself, begins with a man-on-the street motif, in which an interviewer asks, “Excuse me, sir. Are you a state senator from Wisconsin?”

After a few bemused responses, the spoof switches gears, and a voice asks, “Looking for a place to hide? Hideaway in Rockford!”

Rockford’s mayor has a spot on camera, as does a visitors’ bureau spokesman, who touts the city’s brewpubs, its music scene and its minor-league hockey team. There’s even an amusing segment with Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen on his couch at home, who says, “I’ve been in Rockford 40-some years. I’m never bored here. Unless I’m doing an interview . . .”

“The team at GS concepted, scripted, shot and produced the piece in a little under 48 hours,” Scranton said. “It’s been picked up by news teams and bloggers alike. It was a great way to make lemonade out of a sour situation. And this week Gov. Walker even mentioned it in a speech.”

You can watch the video at: http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2011/03/07/ridgway-firm-crafts-rockford-pr-message-around-wisconsins-hidden-sens/24655/

Scranton and his collaborators are not stopping here. Sensing a marketing tool with legs – at least until the Wisconsin budget battle is resolved – they are launching Episode 2 of “Hideaway in Rockford!” this week. And, “In Episode 3, I am the voice of Gov. Scott Walker,” Scranton said. “So stay tuned.”

Episode 3 launches next week.

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