From Belmont Stakes To Arizona Public Relations: Our Own Run To The Triple Crown During The First Half of 2015

On June 6th American Pharaoh became horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. On June 30th our company realized the best first half of a year since our founding in 1998. We’re very proud of that. And privileged to represent the blue chip roster of clients we do. Without their confidence our great team wouldn’t have the opportunity to advocate for big stakes.
So thank you again and as always for the chance to regale our blog and network with some very interesting Arizona public relations and public affairs case studies.Turf-Paradise-logo

* WE Did It! We’re so damn good we were able to ensure American Pharaoh’s Triple Crown victory this year to benefit Turf Paradise, a long-time client and the only horse racing track in the Valley today. That’s a slight exaggeration of course but we continue to work with Turf Paradise to successfully defy the odds of sliding numbers at horse tracks around the country. How? By assisting with innovative programming and effective public relations.

* Put Us In Coach . . . We’re Ready To Plan. Firm partner Jennifer Moser has had quite a run throughout the first part of  2015. It began with her event planning for the New York City-based Friar’s Club and its roast of Hall of Fame Quarterback Terry Bradshaw as part of Arizona’s Super Bowl activities and culminated with her work on behalf of the Mastro Family’s Steak 44 and the inaugural event for Arizona Cardinals’ Coach Bruce Arians and his charitable foundation in June. From Governor Ducey, U.S. Senator Flake, Sheriff Arpaio and the Arizona Cardinals’ family, it was an extraordinary evening  for the benevolent head master of the state’s most popular sports franchise. Earlier this year, and going from football to baseball, we were thrilled to be tapped by one of the nation’s top sports agencies to help launch a successful new event in Scottsdale called Baseball City to coincide with the Cactus League.

* The Final Act: Twenty years ago last month firm founder Jason Rose achieved his first big election win on his own as a political consultant to Sam Campana, who became the Mayor of Scottsdale. Current Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane has again signed up Rose, Mike Scerbo and the rest of the company to assist his final campaign as Mayor (as they did in 2012). It’s an honor. The ethical and effective Lane will be serving his final term if re-elected in 2016, as Scottsdale imposes a three-term limit. Lane is organizing an impressive launch of his campaign on October 21st at the home of Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson and his wife Carolyn, with special guest Governor Doug Ducey. The impressive host committee continues to grow. As does speculation that another impressive with the initials VK waits in the wings as Mayor Lane’s successor in 2020.

marco_rubio_for_president_square_sticker_3_x_3* Marco, Polo: While we’re on the subject of politics it was a thrill for our firm to lead efforts that resulted in a substantial May fundraiser for the GOP’s most inspiring candidate for President in 2016: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. Held in May at the best small resort property in Arizona (The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley) attendance exceeded campaign expectations with the crowd an impressive combination of well-heeled and newbies attracted to the unique story of Senator Rubio.YY35773-1024x684

So, from Marco to Polo. October 24th will mark the 5th Anniversary of the USA’s most attended and interesting polo event we founded at WestWorld of Scottsdale. Exceptional elements this year include a High-Tea Tent presented by The Phoenician, a period of play in which all sound will be turned off save for the sounds of a Phoenix Symphony Quartet, a Picasso that will be auctioned off as part of the Larsen Live Contemporary & Fine Art Auction and the return of American polo star and GQ model Nick Roldan. He will be playing courtesy of the Aspen Valley Polo Club, owned by one of the first families of USA polo, the Ganzi’s. To check out new elements and all of those that have previously made The Polo Party unlike anything in Arizona or America check out

* Red, White, Blue & So Cool: Sometimes what a client is all about is just so outstanding that we don’t need to continue on with so many words. Just watch this version of the Star Spangled Banner. (Here is the Link.) Marco Rubio thought Madison Rising amazing when played at his event. Six million other people via YouTube views do too. We represent them. And we think they and that is pretty cool.

* Celebrity Fight Night: Cool is also what Valley businessmen Jimmy Walker and Sean Currie have created over the years via Celebrity Fight Night. The event has raised a staggering sum of money that has single-handedly raised the money to fund the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center at Barrow’s Neurological Institute in Phoenix, among assistance for many great causes. Led by Jennifer Moser, it was a pleasure to assist the organization for a variety of PR tasks leading up to and after the event.  This September will be the second time CFN takes the event to Italy and there is already a waiting list.
Carson, Cheryl Pollack, Michael, Mayor Lewis* From Real Estate Quarterback To Football Quarterback: Are there really any ways left for Arizona real estate impresario Michael Pollack to impress? After all, countless extreme shopping center makeovers and generous charitable contributions make that a difficult task. But challenged by him to accentuate what he calls his greatest achievement yet – transforming a retail embarrassment in Gilbert into a point of pride – we came up with a unique idea: a press conference with Arizona’s two most notable rehabilitators: Michael Pollack and Arizona Cardinals’ Quarterback Carson Palmer. The result was distinct, and effective.

* Windup For Windmill: When one of Pinal County’s premier special event venues – The Windmill Winery of Florence – was poorly treated by county officials that impacted media reports, our company was hired to counteract with crisis communications. And there was much to do so, based on many key facts. Fortunately, those and other results helped mitigate government overreach and communications malfeasance so that the property has emerged back to pre-incident levels which, by the way, it had precious little to do with due to the uniqueness of its food and beverage operations.

* The Art Of It All: So a company wants to invest $50 million into downtown Phoenix, without a subsidy, to bring more top-notch multi-family units to the city center? No problem, right? Wrong, if the location is Roosevelt Row. There a unique and important blend of cultures has developed. And when that $50 million investment is looking to alter an existing dynamic political debate and challenge can result, even generating coverage in the New York Times. But by providing creative and sound public affairs and public relations advice for the particular situation in Phoenix, Baron Properties responded. With dramatic new art to celebrate the artistic ethic in the neighborhood as well as the LGBT history that preceded it.

* Car Stars: With its massive employment and even larger state sales tax revenues the Arizona Automobile Association is one of the state’s most significant trade organizations. For two years running we have been privileged to successfully represent them with key communications efforts before the Arizona State Legislature to achieve key objectives. And within the City of Phoenix we worked proactively with Association leadership and top city officials to reduce a potential sales tax increase being decided by voters in August that could have had the effect of making Phoenix dealers less competitive with those in surrounding cities. And when it comes to cars in Arizona is there any bigger celebration than Barrett-Jackson Week every January when the Valley becomes the epicenter of the collector car world? Throughout the top of 2015 we again helped one of Arizona’s most glamorous and significant special events achieve numerous business and public affairs objectives.

* _YY39819The Rugby Bowl: From Beauty & The Beast To The All-Blacks? For the second consecutive year our company conceived Rugby Bowl was the biggest such event in the Southwest. Year Two saw Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale become the title sponsor and a move to Scottsdale Stadium, spring training home of the San Francisco Giants. What a day it was as ASU throttled Ohio State and Grand Canyon University did the same to USC. An invitation for next year is already out to the most famous rugby franchise in the world: New Zealand’s All-Blacks. Stay tuned.

* Always Got To Be On Call: Firm Founder Jason Rose loves U2, so much so that he traveled to Vancouver for the debut concert of the band’s new world tour. A few hours prior he was biking around Stanley Park. Stopping for a break he noticed an urgent call from a SolarCity executive. Nevada had become the latest battleground in a nationwide quest by monopolistic utilities to quash its solar competitor via regulation and taxes. The company had a big idea and gambit. They needed a consultant that could move very quickly and smartly to help execute it. We did. It was a part of a come-from-behind result where futurists understand that we ought not to be a world ruled by T-Rex. And it was the kind of result, and issue, that would make Bono proud.

MSC ad 1* Pink Taco, The Sequel: So some of you may remember the Pink Taco restaurant saga a decade ago involving a colorful restauranteur, a Scottsdale Mayor and even what is now University of
Phoenix Stadium. Our experience couldn’t help but chuckle when My Sister’s Closet, a top woman-owned and socially conscious Valley business called with the news: Valley Metro had rejected their advertising concepts for light rail. You see them around town. “One Night Stand.” “Make A Booty Call.” Etc. Seriously? The campaign is a great play on words developed by the company’s advertising agency, Decibel Blue, that has escalated revenues. So the puritans at Valley Metro, not exactly exemplars of the exchequer, didn’t want $60,000 because such ads were too “racy?” Pink Taco me this! After much publicity about the inanity that which was inevitable from the outset became just that. The organization reversed its policy and even provided additional advertising space for an exemplary local, woman-owned company.

* Messaging Matters: So called “strategists” who do little but just that drive us crazy. Success for clients is about good ideas AND good execution. Both are how products get sold, candidates get elected, crisis’ are mitigated, projects get approved and events become a success. We pride ourselves on doing both. Always. Such as that to help Chandler’s first conference center gain approval in the community. Or for Camelot Homes to overcome substantial neighborhood opposition in Scottsdale to gain support for a new project that involved some of our most creative thinking to date that created a win-win for all. Or being hired by proponents of the Ritz-Carlton in Paradise Valley to augment an approach.

* Natural Wonder. Grassroots Wonder. The first client our firm ever had was a group opposed to an Italy-based developer wanting to bring insidious levels of commercial development to the South Rim boundary of Grand Canyon National Park. Nearly 20 years later the fight goes on. The developer’s highly questionable ethics have allowed it to move from nowhere to somewhere, but still a long ways from any actual development. The latest chapter includes their request of the U.S. Forest Service to start enabling their obnoxious quest. Facing extraordinary public opposition to the tune of 200,000 public comments against the request (not a typo) the developer has hired a former U.S. Senator to work the skids. We shall see who and what prevails. We know who should.

* Local First. Top Homebuilder. All you can say about Cullum Homes is “Wow.” Having sold tens of millions in new homes at The Village at Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley, and with Cullum Homes Blue-Chromeprojects underway at Silverleaf and Camelback Mountain among others, there are few better stories of local boy (and girl) done good since the Great Recession than Cullum Homes. Recently recognized by The Phoenix Business Journal as the No. 1 Custom Home Builder in Arizona, such recognition is certainly due for a local company that didn’t lament during tough years. They learned. And are now the homebuilding leaders at the top luxury sites in the Valley. Thanks for letting us be a part of your coattails. And listening to our bold ideas. And approving them . . . mostly.

* An Unfortunate Howl. A New Howl. Our first signature public affairs win was in 1997 for the Phoenix Coyotes and their Ice Den project in north Scottsdale. The relationship established, we successfully co-consulted on the two hockey arena elections in 1999 for the Coyotes that would have seen them play at Scottsdale & McDowell Roads but not for subsequent political incompetence on the Scottsdale City Council. We handled communications for the transition to Glendale. In 2013 we were called and asked to defuse a referendum attempt following the Glendale City Council approval for the new ownership group. We negotiated a contract. We did our job. Unfortunately, the new owners didn’t feel obligated to pay us, or didn’t have the money, or both. We sued last year for breach of contract. We tried everything possible to avoid it. So we find it ironic, even as we disagree with the city’s decision to cancel its large subsidy for the team, that current Coyotes’ ownership is citing the bad faith of the city when the team has shown such bad faith towards us. Understanding their financial challenges we even offered to loan the team money for its obligation to our company. As this issue has been dominating news of late we thought it relevant and timely to comment, torn as we are by our regard for sport in the Valley but cognizant of moral public servants like interim Glendale City Manager Dick Bowers whose public policy sobriety is legion. On a much lighter note a new howl you may hear from our company involves Jason Rose and his pursuit of a new musical with a rock band you may be familiar with. Perhaps more on that later this year, proving that our company’s entrepreneurial spirit is higher than ever. Staff and sponsors beware!

* Welcome & Kudos: We’re pleased to let you know of our latest hire, Stephanie Lough, recently named Best of Our Valley: Top Tweeter by Arizona Foothills Magazine. She’s a rising star in the PR world, as are our impressive group of interns led by Cepand Alizadeh, a third year law student at ASU whose indefatigable regard and assistance for what we do is deeply appreciated. And as always, sincere gratitude to company point guard Sara Jane Jones Widdes who was recently described by Scottsdale Stadium management as the best events person it has ever worked with. And Jennifer Parks whose unique personality and relentless commitment to result is incomparable in the PR world. And did we mention our regard for clients sufficiently? From the nobility of the Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association to the class of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty.

Next year will mark our 20th Anniversary. What a ride. What clients. What thank you’s are in order. Certainly for this year. And hopefully next. And for many years to come. Now, back to billing. After 2,762 words of boring or intriguing you.

To a great rest of 2015 to you and all.


Hero photo of American Pharoah courtesy of Mike Lizzi

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