The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)Case Study
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) – “Increasing Brand Recognition for the ACM Turing Award”
2018 SABRE AWARDS FINALIST
Founded at the dawn of the computer age, the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) is now the world’s largest computing society with more than100,000 members, globally. Fostering dialogue through prominent conferences, sharing knowledge with award-winning publications and recognizing superior excellence in computing by presenting prestigious awards. Most notable of the awards, the ACM A.M. Turing Award, is often regarded by those in computing as the single most prestigious award in computing, frequently referred to colloquially as the “Nobel Prize of Computing.”
Unfortunately, many of the general public (outside of computing) remain unfamiliar with this landmark event and the achievements it recognizes, including: the invention of the World Wide Web, the creation of the Internet; Public Key Encryption, without which there could be no pricey on the internet.
As ACM’s agency of record, MIX Public Relations was tasked with increasing awareness and recognition of the association and highlighting its members’ achievements. 2016-17 was a landmark year for ACM as it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the awarding of the ACM Turing Award. Our task this year then became even more significant, and a tremendous focus was to be placed in broadening the familiarity of the Award, its recipients and their achievements to both the computing experts already eager for the release of the award, and the general public, who with increased awareness and focus will eventually place these achievements of the Turing Laureates among the most pertinent Nobel Fellows.
Strategy / Tactics
MIX PR and ACM organizers collaborated on a public relations strategy that would not only achieve media coverage for the 2016 award winner but would also increase awareness of the overall A.M. Turing Award and celebrate 50 years of computing’s greatest achievements.
Since the A.M. Turing Award is not a run-of-the-mill award and required more than your average month-long PR campaign, MIX PR worked alongside ACM’s communications department to develop a year-long campaign that would elevate the prestige and awareness of both the award and its anniversary.
MIX PR kicked-off the year-long campaign with a series of Panels in Print, focused on the most explosive aspects changing the manner in which humans interact with, and consider computing: Big Data; the Internet of Things; Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity and Encryption. The Panels featured past Laureates and modern experts offering their frequently contrarian take on each of these important subjects as a prelude to the announcement of the 2016 ACM Turing Award winner. These Panels were seeded in an extreme variety of publications with any nascent interest in computing, rather than the more academic forums these conversations generally remained hidden.
Following this warm of up of the press, MIX then conducted national media outreach focused on the announcement of Berners-Lee as the 2016 recipient of the award, culminating in a two-day celebratory jubilee with dozens of reporters in attendance (secured by MIX).
Execution and Results
How the Panels in Print Worked
In preparation for ACM’s celebration of 50 years of the ACM A.M. Turing Award, MIX PR worked with ACM to develop a campaign strategy that included interviews with past Turing laureates and other ACM experts that were transcribed into panels and proactively pitched to tier-one outlets to secure not only prestigious, but widely-read business and trade publications.
Through MIX Public Relations’ outreach efforts, ACM secured a total of 32 articles covering each of the significant subject matter (21 original, 11 syndicated). Eight of those articles resulted from outreach with the Big Data panel, six with the IoT panel, 14 with the AI panel and four with the Cybersecurity and Encryption panel.
Outlets covering the panels in print include:
- Baseline Magazine
- Computer Business Review (CBR)
- The Register
- SC Media UK
- IoT Evolution
- IoT Business News
- Light Reading
- Analytics India
- The Next Platform
ACM Turing Award
On Tuesday, April 4, ACM announced Sir Tim Berners-Lee as the recipient of the 2016 ACM A.M. Turing Award for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale.
Leading up to the announcement, MIX Public Relations worked with ACM to develop a campaign strategy that included: key messaging for Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ACM Turing Award and the Turing 50th Celebration); a press release and media advisory was crafted; created multiple tiered pitches and target lists; and conducted an interview with Berners-Lee that was transcribed to provide additional quotes to the press. Additionally, MIX coordinated with Berners-Lee’s communications teams at W3C and MIT to pitch and secure embargoed briefings with Berners-Lee, prior to the public announcement.
The collective efforts of the group resulted in 11 interviews with top-tier media, including: Wired (US & UK), The Associated Press, CNN, Forbes, The Washington Post, MIT Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, NPR and the BBC.
Coverage resulted in nearly 400 stories and broadcast interviews (81 original articles and 311 syndicated articles), all appearing as a direct result of pre-briefings and day-of-announcement media outreach.
ACM Turing Jubilee Caps Off the Yearlong Celebration!
On June 22-23, ACM celebrated 50 years of the ACM Turing Award with a two-day conference awards and ceremony recognizing Sir Tim Berners-Lee as the recipient of the 2016 ACM \ Turing Award.
As the pinnacle of a year-long media campaign highlighting and increasing the public prestige and awareness for the ACM Turing Award, MIX Public Relations worked with ACM to leverage the 50 Years of Turing Award celebration to further position ACM as the foremost association in computing, broaden potential association membership awareness globally, and introduce an extensive range of computer neophytes to ACM, the ACM Turing Award and the works of Sir Tim Berners Lee.
Leading up to the conference, MIX Public Relations worked to conduct interviews with past Turing Laureates, gain their attendance at the celebration, and that were transcribe their responses into further panels later proactively used to secure additional tier-one media outlets.
In addition to the standard press releases and media advisories, multiple tiered pitches and target lists to emphasize this once-in-a lifetime event, for the Celebration Event, MIX capably secured the interest and RSVPs of 25 reporters from the most prominent business, technology and trade outlets with representation in the Bay Area, with a vast majority attending. Those few last-minute cancelations watched live from a simulcast and later field stories as if they had been in attendance. Dozens of reporters from top-tier international technology and business publications attended the conference and conducted on-site interviews with Turing Laureates, speakers and other panel members, facilitated by the MIX team.
Reporter RSVP and in attendance include:
- Bob McMillan, The Wall Street Journal
- Tom Simonite, WIRED
- Aaron Tilley, Forbes
- Jonathan Vanian, Fortune
- Katherine Bourzac, MIT Technology Review
- Sean Captain, Fast Company/ Tom’s Guide
- Blair Hanley Frank, VentureBeat
- Katyanna Quach, The Register
- Andrew Tarantola, Engadget
- Rick Merritt, EE Times
- Christoph Drosser, Die Zeit
- Jill Leovey, Los Angeles Times
- Krissy Eliot, California Magazine
MIX PR’s combined efforts with the Panel in Print, A.M. Turing Award and the Turing Jubilee resulted in more than 400 pieces of media coverage, much of which appeared in tier-one outlets such as the Associated Press, CNN and NPR, well outside the standard “computer publications.”