Helping a Newtown Family

[Agency: Havas PR North America]

Challenge: The day after the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn., we offered our help pro bono to Alissa and Robbie Parker, parents of 6-year-old victim Emilie. They were overwhelmed not only by grief but also by an influx of requests from media, by people wanting to help and by hateful conspiracy theorists.

Actions: Our agency focused on the word “movement.” First was moving the family offscreen so that they could grieve, then moving their communications to statements (which we provided to handpicked local and national media outlets) and the WordPress site we created (, which set the stage for a global movement. We continue to monitor comments and coordinate with law-enforcement agencies regarding threatening messages. Havas PR North America has managed all conversations with media from the start, including placing a lengthy interview with the Parkers with CBS at the 100-day anniversary of the shooting. Piers Morgan saw it and personally invited Robbie on his show.

Results: Robbie Parker wrote that we “truly helped” them get through difficult days. Our website has garnered 139,000 unique visitors, and the CBS interview opened a media floodgate—22.1 million media impressions and 1.8 billion Twitter impressions over the first weekend alone. Our best result? Helping the Parkers tell their story in a way that helps them heal and allows Emilie’s life to make a difference forever.