With the U.S. release of the Oscar winner “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Alan Turing became a familiar name. This was serendipitous for the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) which engaged Widmeyer Higher Education to develop a major event in which to announce the increase of the prestigious ACM A.M. Turing Award to $1,000,000, thanks to sponsorship by Google Inc. ACM is the leading professional society for computer scientists with more than 100,000 members worldwide.
The goal was to create as much buzz as possible, and that we did. We connected with The Weinstein Company, official U.S. distributors of “The Imitation Game,” and negotiated a special pre-release screening of the movie for ACM members, Turing Laureates, technology press and members of the academic and technology communities in the New York area. Widmeyer provided all event management services as well as media outreach to secure media attendance and coverage of the briefing and the screening.
Interest in the announcement and the screening was international in scope. The press briefing and screening events were attended and covered by The New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, Huffington Post, Scientific American and Engaget. Associated Press ran a wire story that was picked up by more than 80 media outlets. The New York Times story appeared in both the online and print editions. Other notable placements included: CNET, Fast Company, NBC, ABC, Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Miami Herald. International coverage was secured through an interview with the BBC for ACM’s president, as well as a wire story by Agence France Presse.
Social media buzz was generated by ongoing teasers leading up to the announcement, as well as the day of the event, and resulted in a 15 percent increase in the number of followers on Facebook and Twitter.