(May. 19, 2004 - KENNESAW, Ga.)
Long the bane of editors and writers, the press kit, one of the PR person's main publicity tools, is often bulky, heavy and so stuffed with material that some eventually will fall out at the most inconvenient time. Now imagine a press kit so light and compact that it can be carried on a keychain and weighs less than two quarters.
Yamaha Marine, arguably the technology leader in outboard motors, which has reduced the size and weight of its outboards over the years, now has reduced its 2005 press kit from a thick portfolio with press releases, technical bulletins, transparencies and CDs to a package about the size of a pack of gum or pocket knife and it weighs just four-tenths of an ounce.
"It's probably the smallest press kit ever," said Frank Wilhelm, Yamaha's advertising manager, "as far as we can tell, it’s the first time a press kit like this has been made anywhere. In 1986, we were the first to put a press kit on a computer diskette and now this."
Actually, the idea came from Wilhelm when considering a souvenir for the 37 boating editors and writers who would be attending the Model Year 2005 outboard motor press introduction held recently in Sarasota, Fla.
Cindy Sanders, Yamaha's event planner, brought several different souvenir samples to a planning meeting with Wilhelm and Mike Walker of the Walker Agency, which handles Yamaha. What stood out among the routine gift ideas was a small USB storage device for computers.
Wilhelm asked Walker if it was possible to put the press kit contents on the USB drive. Walker said it was, and that photos and technical drawings and information as well as Performance Bulletins for the boat and motor combinations that would be demonstrating the 2005 outboards would fit. The drive is compatible with any computer that has a USB slot.
Press kits are sometimes a hassle for writers in that they often have a tendency to be heavy and bulky when loaded up with new product material. And at trade shows, some writers bring an empty suitcase just to carry home all of the press kits.
Walker noted that once the press kit contents are transferred to a computer hard drive, the small drive can be used for other storage or transporting data from one computer to another such as home to office.
"While the USB drive is not cost-effective for mass distribution, it made a memorable gift to the editors and created a buzz as they tried to figure out other uses for the press kit drive," said Wilhelm.