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Showcasing the Power of Play: International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association

The Challenge

Many schools across the country have focused more time on standardized testing and less time on recess in recent years, and according to the 2016 Shape of the Nation Report, only 16 percent of states require schools to provide daily recess. Research shows that outdoor free play gives kids many valuable benefits, including the development of physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills.

The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) is the playground industry’s leading safety certification organization. Its Voice of Play initiative promotes growth in the quality and quantity of unstructured, outdoor free play for kids, especially on playgrounds. Havas PR has worked with the organization for 13 years, and recognized an opportunity to create awareness and showcase the powerful data behind play and why recess should become a priority again.

The Solution

Given that teachers have a first-hand view to the benefits of recess, Havas PR and IPEMA conducted a survey of elementary school teachers to gain statistically significant information on these perspectives, then use this data to spark media interest and coverage, as well as social engagement, as an opportunity to reach parents, teachers, community recreation partners and playground industry members—those who make the decisions on how much children are playing. With a strong momentum of media coverage, Havas PR was also able to react to interest from NBC News and secured IPEMA’s president in a powerful thought leadership piece on play on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, part of the bigger goal of the year to spread awareness on play.

The Results

Proactive and reactive mainstream and trade media outreach resulted in 16 articles and 121.8 million impressions
A Twitter chat reached 34,000+ users and garnered 13,450 total impressions
A 30 percent increase in Facebook reach from the previous year
Thought leadership demonstrated with two byline articles in top trade outlets, an interview on one of the top trade podcasts and a presentation on the research findings at one of the industry’s top conferences

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