11/21/03 – PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - BUSINESS - By Teresa Lindeman
It wasn’t that hard, really, choosing the right
moments to relive in an ad campaign that’s
supposed to persuade the public to contribute
$1.6 million toward the not-yet-opened Western
Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
Print ads and billboards set to debut next week
will feature some of the best – a Mario Lemieux
hockey puck from the Stanley Cup wins, an
autographed baseball from Pirates great
Bill Mazeroski, a football signed by Steelers
owner Dan Rooney.
Are those truly the region’s top sports memories?
According to Bill Garrison, a partner in the small
downtown ad shop Garrison Hughes that did the
creative work on the campaign, the achievements
represented universally recognized sports moments in the region, and, as an added plus, the museum had easy access to the
imagery. That helps when you’re dealing with celebrities and tight deadlines.
The campaign came together in a couple of months, said Garrison. Franco Harris happened to be on the museum’s fund-raising
committee, so he came up with a good photograph of “The Immaculate Reception,” a revered moment when the former Steeler
made a spectacular game-winning catch and touchdown run against the Oakland Raiders in a 1972 playoff game.
Lemieux, who still lives here, works and sits on the committee,
made it simple to feature the hockey puck to bring back those slick
performances as the Penguins captured the National Hockey League’s
top prizes.
The most complicated task might have been getting permission from
the Clemente family to use the picture of Pirates legend Roberto
Clemente that will show up on 10 billboards next week. A photographer
who knows the family helped make that happen.
The Sports Museum will be part of an expansion of the Senator John
Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, set to open in November 2004.
Already the project has raised $21 million with funding from the state,
foundations, corporations and individuals, said Audrey Brourman,
a consultant serving as chief fund raising counsel for the history
center expansion. Plans call for collecting an additional $5.7 million
as early as next summer.
This new campaign takes fund raising directly to sports fans, who can show how really rabid they are by spending as little as
$250 to get a personalized trading card made and then displayed at the museum, to a pricier $2,000 for a gold plaque on the
Black-and-Gold wall. For $500, fans can buy baseballs to autograph themselves.
A campaign tag line, “Your pride, your place,” attempts to put the emphasis on the passionate folks in the stands who make sports
more fun.
The museum itself will not focus on just the famous. There will be memorabilia from high school sports and even softball
leagues. But the marketers decided the easiest, quickest way to give people a sense of what this place will be was to feature the
familiar stars and events in the city’s sports history.
Garrison said one of his main concerns was not upsetting stat-savvy fans. He double-checked to make sure that, yes, Clemente
did get 3,000 regular season hits for the Pirates and Mazeroski did turn 1,706 double plays. “We welcome discussion on which
moments are the greatest,” said Garrison. But, he added, “We just don’t want to get anything wrong.”

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