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McNeil Wilson Communications

McNeil Wilson Communications is proud to have worked with some of the best companies in Hawaii and beyond. See what we have done and what we are capable of doing for you.

Introducing T.J. Maxx to Hawaii

1003 Bishop Street
Pauahi Tower, 9th Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
T 808.531.0244
F 808.521.7163

McNeil Wilson Communications, Inc

In January 2012, T.J.Maxx of The TJX Companies, Inc. retained McNeil Wilson Communications (MWC) to manage publicity for the launch of the brand on the Island of Oahu via the opening of three stores at the rate of one a week over a period of three consecutive weeks beginning May 3.

The company commissioned research since T.J.Maxx had not previously been in the Hawaii market. A key discovery was that 74% of Oahu residents had never shopped at a T.J.Maxx and only 62% were even aware of the brand. Accordingly, educating Hawaii on the company’s brand proposition – mainly the “secret” of scoring designer merchandise at amazing savings – was a primary PR goal for the launch of its stores.

A sampling of relevant research is included, although the major part is proprietary to T.J.Maxx and cannot be disclosed.

MWC’s objectives were to generate publicity and create “buzz” for the T.J.Maxx Oahu store openings, to educate consumers on the brand, and to encourage local residents to shop at T.J.Maxx stores.

MWC created a public relations plan and timeline from January through May 2012, which centered around the grand opening of the Ward Center store – their flagship location and first and largest of the three Oahu stores to open. The program consisted of recommendations for a charity donation as part of a community relations outreach, media pitches, news releases, a media event, TV morning show appearances and store opening ceremonies.

The primary target audience were female consumers ages 22-54 residing on Oahu.

The total PR expense budget for the Media Luncheon and three grand opening events amounted to $17,000.

There were many moving parts over a short period of time. In addition to the publicity and special event coordination, MWC went out of its way to support the client, even down to storing in its offices huge racks of clothing and large trunks of products from shoes to blenders to board games!

News Releases/Media Advisories
Adhering to the program timeline, MWC strategized and selected dates for news releases and media advisories, drafting and distributing a total of six releases from February to May.

Knowing that Hawaii shoppers were unfamiliar with T.J.Maxx, we recommended that the company fly out its “Maxxinista” stylist, Allison Deyette. Having on hand a professional spokesperson helped us in booking TV appearances and print interviews. We also used Allison for the Media Luncheon.

Pre-Opening Media Luncheon
We recommended a pre-opening luncheon for media at which they would glean “insider” information about the company and brand while having a good time and an excellent meal in a nice location. MWC handled everything from preparing invitations, to selecting models for a mini fashion show, recommending the restaurant, choosing the menu, designing the floor layout, arranging lighting and securing a nearby room for the models to change.

Twenty media/bloggers/influencers accepted our invitation to a private room at Buca Di Beppo a popular restaurant that complimented the T.J.Maxx brand and which was within walking distance of the Ward store. The program included a presentation by Allison, followed by an informal fashion show and merchandise briefing ending with a fun game, “Off-Price is Right,” where attendees had the opportunity to guess the price of an item with the winner (closest to actual cost) receiving the item. After the luncheon, we did a quick walk to the store where Allison did a “sneak-peak” tour and overview of the various departments and merchandise.

Grand Opening
For the Ward Centers store grand opening, MWC planned and coordinated the entire program, handled four TV news stations and radio remote broadcasts and local press covering the event. MWC put together a Run of Show and setup the stage, sound, floral arrangements the day before its Ward Centers store opening. MWC also designed and produced an oversized check for the charity presentation, hired and selected hula dancers and Hawaiian entertainers, a Kahu (Hawaiian priest), a beautiful selection of special lei for T.J.Maxx executives and VIP attendees and a conch shell blower for the event. Three MWC staff managed and coordinated and managed three different “events” happening that day: early morning TV live remote broadcasts at the store, the ceremony, speeches and entertainment, and other media covering the opening, plus distribution of news release and images from the opening. Over the next two weeks, the firm also handled the grand openings of the other two stores, although these were not quite as lavish.

In addition to flawlessly organizing the special events, MWC also pitched and secured an amazing amount of press! T.J.Maxx had live remote broadcasts on all Hawaii news stations, several stories in Hawaii’s daily newspaper, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, a 2-page style feature in MidWeek which reaches most households on the island, and a 5-minute TV morning show appearance with models on KHON (FOX and CW affiliate). In summary, there were 15 print stories, 25 online/Web features and 30 broadcast clips.

This was all done in accordance to T.J.Maxx’s strict and sometimes limiting media policies: not naming designers, not providing info for business stories, reviewing all correspondence before sending (including pitches) and restrictions on its “spokesperson.”

The launch of T.J.Maxx on Oahu was characterized as one of the most successful in the company’s history. Customers were lined up outside the Ward store the morning of the grand opening and thousands more flocked to the store as the day wore on. Business has since been brisk at all three Oahu store locations.
  Giving credit to our firm, an email from Holly Taylor, Public Relations Manager, T.J.Maxx and Marshalls said: “I wanted to take a moment to thank you and the team for securing such great coverage and helping to coordinate 3 great openings. It was one of the most successful market launches in the country and I wanted to be sure to thank you for all your great work!”