National Media Relations for a Consumer Event: SA Takes the Bull by the Horns

National Media Relations for a Consumer Event: SA Takes the Bull by the Horns

Client: The Great Bull Run

Overview/Situation Analysis:

The Great Bull Run turned to Schneider Associates (SA) to launch the first-of-its-kind entertainment event in the U.S. Modeled after the famous San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain, The Great Bull Run gives participants the opportunity to run with live bulls in 10 cities across the nation. Thrill-seekers and spectators alike enjoy the day-long festivities, which feature live music, games, food, beer and of course, the Tomato Royale. This food fight, which is modeled after the famous La Tomatina, arms participants with 45,000 pounds of ripe tomatoes just waiting to be thrown.RunwithRealBulls2

The unique, exhilarating, and potentially dangerous nature of The Great Bull Run generated incredible demand by the media to attend the inaugural event. Being chased by 30 bulls, each over 1,000 pounds creates challenges for participants, show organizers, and SA’s media team. The sheer risk involved in running with live bulls and objections from animal rights activists were some of the obstacles SA addressed in both media outreach and the comprehensive crisis communications plan we developed. In addition, The Great Bull Run had several key differences from the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, including much more humane treatment of the animals, a point that was emphasized in all media outreach.

SA’s media team was responsible for handling crisis situations that arose as a result of the event. Both PETA and the Department of Agriculture attended and were informed about the safety precautions and treatment of the bulls and participants. Additionally, SA’s media team managed the media in response to all incidents. The Today Show’s Kerry Sanders willingly stepped into the pen for a taste of the action, and quickly confirmed the adrenaline rush as oncoming bulls bounded forward. The “mortal danger” U.S. promoter Rob Dickens references in the accompanying interview, and the race to escape unscathed make The Great Bull Run a one-of-a-kind adventure. SA’s guidance and savvy media relations campaign led to public fervor, robust ticket sales, and a great media run before, during and after the event.AnExperienceLikeNoOther


  • Position The Great Bull Run as a new event for adrenaline seekers, in line with the growing trend of extreme obstacle course racing.
    Showcase the day-long festival which features The Great Bull Run and Tomato Royale.
  • Create widespread consumer awareness and generate website traffic, leads and ticket sales.
  • Develop messaging and press materials to create a sense of excitement while explaining the numerous safety measures in place for the event, as well as a detailed explanation of the humane animal treatment and points of difference between the Spanish and American events.
  • Leverage media relations expertise to secure multiple high-value national and local placements.Party Like Pamplona

Strategies and Tactics:

  • Developed a strategic, coordinated media relations approach targeting national top-tier media, as well as other national and regional online, print, and broadcast outlets.
  • Conducted aggressive media outreach and secured an on-location preview segment with The Today Showand an Associated Press article distributed nationwide.
  • Developed numerous, timely media pitches and held conversations with top-tier national consumer, sports, extreme sports, and lifestyle media to share this unique, unprecedented event series.
  • Held an in-depth Discovery Session to become experts in the festival layout, logistics, safety precautions and rationale behind the event.
  • Coordinated a significant number of phone, television and satellite interviews and handled inbound media requests for The Great Bull Run team prior to and during the event.
  • Coordinated, scheduled and monitored all media interviews on-location for The Great Bull Run’s inaugural event in Petersburg, Va., and held multiple prep meetings with The Great Bull Run’s senior staff.
  • Developed crisis messaging, talking points and media message guides reflecting multiple potential outcomes.
  • Handled crisis communications at the event.YouHaveNeverHadThisMuchFun


SA’s media relations program generated more than 600 million impressions through placements with news agencies, print, broadcast and online outlets. SA secured an Associated Press article that previewed the run in early August. The SA team coordinated numerous interviews between R. Dickens and reporters both throughout the preview period and in-person at The Great Bull Run’s first event in Virginia.

The Associated Press preview article and its related shares reached more than 230 million online readers, successfully announcing The Great Bull Run’s first event and creating significant media interest in the event series’ subsequent locations.

Prominent placements include:

  • Reuters, 6,275,573 impressions
  •, 17,690,144 impressions
  • Huffington Post, 39,551,902 impressions
  • The Today Show, two segments, 12,800,000 impressions
  • Good Morning America, two segments 10,156,000 impressions
  •, 8,472,370 impressions
  •, 18,551,952 impressions
  • BuzzFeed (pending)
  • Associated Press, two articles, 460,000,000+ impressions

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