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How PR Helped Sushi Robots Win the Super Bowl with Food Technology Super Buzz

Here’s How We Helped B2B Food Technology Brand Autec Win Big at the Big Game with PR

Bengals? Rams? As football fans prepared for Super Bowl parties around the country, food technology brand Autec prepared SoFi Stadium to serve 70,000 attendees at the big game with the help of their sushi robots.

Yes, sushi robots!

Rather than “forking” over $6.5 million to air a 30-second Super Bowl commercial – a cost that most brands can’t afford – Autec leveraged PR to create some Super Buzz. Now, lots of brands try to get coverage by somehow associating with or creating a stunt around the big game and end up woefully disappointed.

So how did a b2b food technology brand succeed in getting featured by some of the hottest consumer media outlets?

We’re so glad you asked…

1. They Passed the “Is It News?” Test

Too often, companies engage in PR efforts around things that simply aren’t news – at least not in the eyes of the journalists, editors, and producers they are pitching. Generally, things like changing a logo, launching a new website, updating packaging, hiring new employees, even releasing new products (unless they’re incredibly differentiated) may be news to your company but they don’t grab the media’s attention. New ≠ news. (Not always, anyway.)

What’s news to a journalist? Content that will engage their readers/viewers/listeners and keep them coming back for more. The media is constantly competing with other media for audience share. In order to survive, they are always considering how each story will provide instant gratification as well as a reason for return. (That last part is critical.)

Food technology is generally reserved for b2b audiences. But when it is employed by a new stadium to serve the first full-capacity crowd since the pandemic in a way that is newly important to the public (ie, reducing human contact with food), suddenly Sushi Robots are news!

2. They Passed the “Stat Sound Bite” Test

Members of the press can get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of pitches per day, and they have to make quick decisions about which ones to consider. If a pitch is too complex – or, conversely if it’s simply boring – the media can’t delete the email or voicemail fast enough. Don’t let this happen to you!

People love “snackable content” – especially in the form of a stat-driven sound bite. Why? Because we can quickly understand it, remember it, and share it with others. Yes, there should be more to the story. But leading with a stat sound bite is a smart way to get the media’s attention – because it shows them that your story can quickly grab their audience’s attention.

So here’s a fun stat: Autec’s Sushi Robots can create up to 1,300 rice sheets and 2,400 rice balls per hour. That’s an intriguing stat that is both repeat-worthy and read-more worthy, whether you’re into food technology or not. THAT is PR gold. 

3. They Passed the “Smell” Test

Admittedly sushi shouldn’t smell…but that’s not what we are talking about.

Passing the “Smell” Test means that, when you dig a little deeper, the claim is legitimate. If a stat can’t be backed up, credentialed journalists will be unlikely to share it because their reputation is on the line. And yours is too. Further, if you keep pitching what the media considers “snake oil,” your pitches will be flagged as spam and they won’t even see them anymore. So please keep it real.

For Autec, we included quotes from real-life customers who use Sushi Robots at huge events because of the speed with which they can produce quality results – backing up the “1,300 rice sheets and 2,400 rice balls per hour” stat sound bite. Videos of the Sushi Robots showing this food technology in action were also available to help the media verify it with their own eyes. And the brand’s status as the nation’s leading commercial sushi robot provider added more credibility.

You Don’t Need to Wait for the Super Bowl to Generate Super Buzz!

Unless you only want PR around the time of the Super Bowl, consider a PR strategy that involves a constant drumbeat of outreach. With each pitch, ask yourself:

  • Is it news?
  • Do we have a strong sound bite?
  • Does our sound bite pass the smell test?

If the answer to all three questions is a resounding “yes,” then PR is for you! (One more thing: if you aren’t a PR professional, this is the time to engage one. They have relationships and understand best practices when it comes to engaging the press. And the press appreciates dealing with PR professionals who they know will be respectful and responsive — and to whom they can give candid feedback about a brand without worrying that they may be hurting feelings…)

Finally, with PR there is no guarantee. That’s precisely why PR coverage is so powerful: people know that when something is featured by a reputable media source, it wasn’t paid for — which imbues that coverage with a feeling of “third-party endorsement” that is incredibly valuable for building brand awareness and brand affinity. Even if you do everything right, you may not get the PR coverage you hoped for. Don’t give up! Keep following the rules, coming up with pitches that pass the three tests, and reaching out respectfully to the right media targets, and soon you’ll be one of those brands that others see in the news and say “How did they do that?”


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