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THE PACIFIC NATIONAL HONOR FLIGHT

CIVIC ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, New York / HBO / 2010

Awards:

Silver Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

BriefExplanation

The HBO Miniseries The Pacific tells the true stories of World War II Marines fighting across the Pacific. For HBO and executive producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, The Pacific was an opportunity not just to tell the stories of this war, but to honor the men who fought it. HBO worked with The Honor Flight Network, American Airlines and Marriott Hotels to bring 250 WWII veterans of the Pacific from across the U.S. to Washington DC to tour the WWII Memorial. It was the first time these veterans ever saw the Memorial. HBO and partners made all arrangements and covered all costs. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg joined the veterans for a special wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial. HBO hosted airport send-off events with military personnel, bands and Color Guards in each city, plus welcome events at Reagan National Airport for each flight’s arrival.CNN.com broadcast the ceremony live. National and local press covered the event and individual veterans’ stories, generating 22MM earned media impressions for the two-day event.“The Pacific” premiere had an audience of 3.1MM viewers with gross viewership for Episode 1 exceeding 9MM; HBO’s highest ratings for a miniseries in five years.

ClientBriefOrObjective

Create an event that honors WWII veterans who served in the Pacific, while driving media awareness for the Miniseries.Engage national media to cover HBO’s event and ceremony in Washington, DC.Engage local media to cover veteran send-off events at airports and recognize veterans within their communities.

Execution

PARTNERSHIPS: HBO engaged American Airlines and Marriott Hotels for charter flights, airport access, accommodations.

AIRPORT SEND-OFFS: Bands, bagpipers, active military personnel and community leaders paid tribute as veterans boarded flights in Chicago, Cleveland, Orlando, New York, Boston. Local TV and newspaper reporters received special security passes to interview veterans at the gate.DC ARRIVAL: Veterans were greeted by bands, military personnel and public officials as they disembarked at Reagan International Airport.MEMORIAL CEREMONY: With support from the Military District of Washington, HBO coordinated a special military ceremony at the WWII Memorial. The ceremony featured the Coast Guard Pipe Band, Color Guard, active-duty U.S. Marines and a Marine Band. The ceremony opened with a procession featuring all 250 veterans, followed by remarks from Richard Plepler (Co-President of HBO), Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Senator Elizabeth Dole and Deputy Secretary Scott Gould, and concluded with a wreath-laying and playing of Taps.

Outcome

100+ media placements across the U.S., resulting in over 22MM earned media impressions for two-day eventExtensive national coverage including USA Today, CNN, ABC News, AP, plus UK Daily MailLocal/regional stories on participating veterans including Boston Herald, Detroit Free Press, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Daily Herald CNN.com carried LIVE coverage of the Ceremony at the MemorialThe Pacific premiere had an audience of 3.1MM viewers with gross viewership for Episode 1 exceeding 9MM; HBO’s highest ratings for a miniseries in five years “Being able to honor the vets …one of the greatest days we have ever shared.” -- Steven Spielberg“Guys who would not be able to make the trip get to make the trip, and we do all the work? That’s just about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.” -- Tom Hanks

Strategy

WWII veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, are passing away at a rate of about 1,000 per day. Most WWII veterans have not been able to visit the WWII Memorial, which was dedicated in 2004. Poor health, cost, and the challenge of making arrangements keep them from travelling.The non-profit Honor Flight Network arranges trips for veterans to Washington, DC to see the memorials that honor their military service. The Honor Flight Network has a waiting list of over 9,000 veterans; WWII veterans are its top priority.To commemorate The Pacific, HBO sponsored a special slate of Honor Flights to bring together 250 WWII veterans who fought in the Pacific, to see the WWII Memorial for the first time in their lives. Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole joined the veterans for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial.

TheSituation

The HBO original Miniseries The Pacific tracks the real-life journeys of three U.S. Marines – Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge and John Basilone – across the vast canvas of the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Executive Produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, The Pacific takes an unflinching “under the helmet” look at the experiences of these men and their brothers in arms. HBO wanted to emphassze the authenticity of the Miniseries, while honoring the soldiers who fought in WWII.

HBO sought press coverage of The Pacific beyond the entertainment pages to embrace the human interest and personal connection so many Americans have to WWII veterans.

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