2011 Bulldog Award Winner – Best Education/Public Service Campaign
For more than 150 years, the California Academy of Sciences museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has been delighting visitors from around the
globe with its world-class exhibits and advanced scientific research. While many may think of the organization as just a museum, the Academy is also a
leading-edge education and research institution, boasting many of the scientific community’s greatest researchers, an education department that
provides a wide range of student and teacher services as well as an extensive science library with over 26 million specimens and artifacts. In the
summer of 2010, in an effort to bring light to the Academy’s research, the Academy’s in-house PR team worked with Landis Communications Inc. (LCI), its
PR partner for over five years. Together, the team spotlighted a new scientific discovery from Academy Scientist Dr. Zeresenay (Zeray) Alemseged.
Through the “Dikka Research Project,” Dr. Alemseged uncovered new fossilized evidence during an archeological dig in Ethiopia that proved human
ancestors were using stone tools almost a million years earlier than previously believed.
LCI’s campaign strategy was to secure national and regional print and broadcast coverage, showcasing Dr. Zeray Alemseged’s monumental scientific
discovery, while leveraging his embargoed cover story in Nature, a top scientific journal, to raise visibility for the Academy as a world-class,
cutting-edge research facility. Some of the challenges LCI faced in the implementation of this strategy included: the California of Sciences’ existing
reputation as solely a science museum, restricted media outreach as a result of the embargo with Nature, a limited budget and partial access to
their key spokesperson, Dr. Zeray Alemseged, who was traveling and in Africa during the media campaign.
The Academy and LCI collaborated to develop an innovative media campaign leveraging the planned story by Nature to drive press interest by
showcasing the world-class research being conducted by Academy scientists. Working with the Nature publishing team, the Academy and LCI crafted
a press release and pitch letter focused on the institution as an active scientific leader, targeting science writers at print, wire service, broadcast
and online outlets in the U.S. and beyond. Offering up spokesperson Dr. Alemseged, the Academy scientist leading the “Dikka Research Project” with an
international group of top-notch peers, the Academy and LCI showcased the institution’s expertise “straight from the horse’s mouth” to secure media
interest. The compelling story created by the Academy and LCI generated a mountain of media coverage despite the limited visual aids and restrictions
put into place by Nature.
Following the August 12, 2010 publish date of Nature’s exclusive on Dr. Alemseged’s discovery, LCI in partnership with the Academy secured more
than 100 media stories in international, national and regional print, TV, radio and online outlets. Coverage appeared in:The Wall Street Journal (print), USA Today (print) San Francisco Chronicle (print),National Public Radio, Bloomberg Businessweek, Science Friday, TIME, BBC News (UK), Associated Press (print), Fox News, ABC, CBS, MSN.com, Contra Costa Times (print), US News & World Report, The Huffington Post, KTVU-TV, Fox LA,
Yahoo! News, The Independent (UK), Addis Voice, Archeology, Before it’s News,
BioEthics Hawaii, Deutsche Welle, Ethiopian Unity Diaspora Forum, Fine Art News, Healthfinder, KGUN, Kiscope, Nano Patents and Innovations,
Parsons’ Planet, Peace FM, Post-Gazette, Sky News, The Truth Behind the Scenes,
Veria, ZME Science, Courant.com,
Google, Herald Sun, Irish Times, Los Angeles Times, Press TV, Science Blog, Reuters Africa, Mail Online (UK), Guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk, Chron.com, The Telegraph, AOL News, Everyday Science, The Washington Times, Tampa Bay Online, Las Vegas Sun, Fortune 500 Global, Physorg.com, Everything Dinosaur,
ArtDaily.org, CNews, Environment News Service, The Epoch Times, The Post Chronicle, The Vancouver Sun, Unexplainable.net , USA Newest Politics News, Xenophilia, CBS Radio Network, WTOP-FM, WWJ-AM,WBBM-AM, KGO-TV, WCCO-AM and KOFY-TV. The story also
published in key science magazines including National Geographic,Nature News, New Scientist, Science AAAS, Science News, Scientific American, Wired Science, Discover, Discovery News, Science 2.0,Science News Daily, Science Codex.