The Philly POPS “Christmas in July” Spectacular, A Case Study

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General Ronald Coleman and Frank Giordano leading procession.

Most people have heard of “Christmas in July”. It’s become a fun opportunity for people to throw a themed party in the summer (and a popular gimmick for retailers!). Well this past summer, July 2014, The Philly POPS threw a press conference in the form of a spectacular party.

As the PR Consultants for The Philly POPS, we were tasked with announcing an exciting new program created by the President of The Philly POPS, Frank Giordano. We are going to honor the local military and first responders on December 5, 2014 as we launch The Philly POPS nine-concert Christmas Spectacular series with the I’ll Be Home for Christmas Spectacular – A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert. 2,000 free tickets will be given to local military personnel through Liberty USO and to Philadelphia police officers and firefighters.

In order to announce this concert, Frank challenged us to create a press conference as spectacularly as possible. We gladly accepted the challenge by creating the Christmas in July Parade that began at the Union League and ended at the Kimmel Center where the press conference would take place. We worked closely with the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments. The Police shut down the south side of Broad Street and offered us an official Highway Patrol Motorcade to lead the parade while the Fire Department brought two fire engines (a 30’ and 55’ ladder engine) to be in the parade. Liberty USO recruited two military personnel to hold a large banner at the front of the parade. Riding in the fire engines were Frank Giordano, Lieutenant General (retired) Ronald S. Coleman of the United States Marine Corps and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Frank, Santa and Mrs. Claus and Philadelphia Police (2)

Frank Giordano, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Philadelphia Police.

When they arrived at the Kimmel Center to a crowd of excited Philadelphians, there were four military vehicles (secured by Liberty USO) parked on the median on Broad Street, mounted police “parked” on the sidewalk, the Philly POPS Festival Brass Quintet playing holiday music, and a red carpet leading into the Kimmel Center flanked by military personnel all in uniform. But that doesn’t include the incredible group of people who came out to support this event. In addition to those riding the fire engines and walking in the parade, the following people joined us:

  • Carolyn Newhouse, Dept. of Community and Economic Development’s Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Investment; oversees the State Office of Travel, Tourism And Film
  • MAJ Jerry Smith of the PA National Guard
  • Rear Admiral (retired) Thomas C. Lynch, who is the current President of the Union League and chairman of the December Salute to the Military and First Responders
  • Commissioner Charles Ramsey and members of the Philadelphia Police Department
  • Outgoing Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers and Incoming Commissioner Derrick Sawyer and members of the Philadelphia Fire Department

It was truly a spectacular sight. Not to mention the ceremony the Highway Patrol motorcade parking information and dismounting their motorcycles on the sidewalk out front of the Kimmel Center. We then paraded everyone inside the Kimmel Center, led by the Bravo Brass playing a Christmas song, where they were met with another great visual. There were Christmas Trees with patriotic décor on both sides of the stage, a historic 1964 Harley Davidson police motorcycle on display, over 20 members of the Police and Fire Department lining both sides of the stage, Christmas themed refreshments and all attendees received a gift from The Philly POPS that included a Christmas ornament.

The press conference itself was a party. In addition to our special guests seated on the stage, members of the Philly POPS Festivus Chorus joined us and sang three holiday songs throughout the short conference. It was a great success. The press conference ran on CBS, NBC, 6abc, WPHL, KYW Newsradio, and it was the Philadelphia Inquirer Photo of the Day on July 11, 2014.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind everyone that the I’ll Be Home For Christmas Spectacular concert is the launch of The Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular concert series taking place from December 6th through 20th with the celebrated guest conductor David Charles Abell and guest singer Hugh Panaro, a recent Phantom in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 215.893.1999.

This post was written by Hope Horwitz. Hope is an Account Executive at Sharla Feldscher Public Relations. 



Seasoned Strategies

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As the summer winds down and the fall season begins to approach this is a great time for PR practitioners to ponder upon their past strategies and consider what they could do differently in the upcoming months. A recent PR Daily article, “How to craft your PR strategies for fall,” shares some insightful tips on how PR pros can creatively take advantage of the seasons in order to capture the public’s attention.

1. Take advantage of social media. The author strongly suggests seeking inspiration from themed boards on Pinterest. Why not take it a step further and see what’s trending on Instagram? Use the inspiring craft ideas to design campaigns, giveaways and photo contests. Keep the most popular holidays in mind but also consider the most popular events within your community to create strong tailor-made strategies.

2. Consider local PR strategies. When building up your group of brand ambassadors PR practitioners must keep in mind that it’s not all about the monetary gain. Creating brand disciples is a long-lasting effort that could take years to achieve. Tying an impressive story angle to a very specific event within your community is a great way to start forming consumer relationships. Send a clear message to your audience and emphasize that their community interests links up with your brand.

3. Get rid of the old, bring in the new. Spice up your strategies around the holidays. The author suggests keeping the “uncool” factor in mind and leaving cliché storylines at the door. Craft campaigns based around holidays that don’t receive too much attention such as Grandparent’s Day and Sweetest Day.

4. Embrace mobile trends. Web content is in high demand and users love accessing this content through their smartphones. Be sure to design your campaigns in an easily accessible manner that allows users to easily share your content via social media. An app could be just the thing to set you apart from your competitors.

Do you switch up your strategies based on the season? What kind of strategies have worked well and not so well in your experience? Share your ideas and comment below!


Tis the Season for Holiday Parties

The holidays are right around the corner. Once we all sit down at the table for Thanksgiving dinner, the celebrations will keep on rolling – right up until New Year’s Day.

With so many exciting get-togethers coming up, we want to make sure that you don’t miss out on one of PPRA’s biggest events of the year – our annual Holiday Party. This year, the festivities take place at Penn’s View Hotel on December 4. See below for details.

Location: Ristorante Panorama (Penn’s View Hotel)

14 N. Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Members – $45, Non-Members – $55



We will be collecting items for the Garces Foundation (including Spanish-English dictionaries and American-themed board games) to provide resources to underserved immigrant families who need them the most.

Don’t forget, you can arrive in style to Penn’s View with Uber!  All new riders can receive up to $20 off their first ride with promo code PPRAHOLIDAY. Plus, bring a donated item to support the Garces Foundation for the chance to win a $25 gift card from Uber or a free entry to an upcoming PPRA Program.

We hope to see all of you there!