In 2019, Abacus Health Products introduced CBDMEDIC, the first family of topical medications for pain management combining active pharmaceutical ingredients with CBD hemp extract. Sharp partnered with Abacus and their high-profile investor, NFL champion Rob Gronkowski, to build a launch campaign that tied Gronk’s own post-football recovery story to the safety and efficacy of CBDMEDIC.
The Agency’s Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events departments came together with only six-weeks' notice to build out an integrated launch strategy. We built initial buzz online with a teaser campaign promising to reveal “the next chapter” in Gronkowski’s career. Amid tons of speculation, we hosted a press conference for top tier media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Yahoo! Sports, NFL Network & Rap Sheet, Men’s Health, CNBC, ESPN, CNN, AOL, US Weekly, and more.
We worked with Abacus and Gonkowski to tell his personal recovery story, launch CBDMedic to the public, and build a platform for him to advocate for CBD to be available, safe, and legal for all professional sports athletes. We hosted a scrappy photo shoot to create a bank of branded imagery to ensure coverage included our product news. We concepted a landing page and social media strategy to improve SEO for the brand. And we secured exclusive 1x1 interviews to select media to ensure depth of coverage as well as reach. His story and our associated imagery took off online and across the media.
Yep, a shirt-less Gronk made the WSJ.
But we didn’t stop there. Our proactive pitching blitz secured broadcast features on Extra! Good Morning America — live with Michael Strahan, AND pre-taped footage for The TODAY Show. (Gronkowski was at NBC Studios and GMA on the same morning — yes, both producers were aware, and yes, this was a clever coup!)
One month after the press conference, the campaign generated more than 3,100 editorial stories (print, online & broadcast), yielding more than 6 billion impressions. On the day of the press conference, the news generated thousands of brand mentions on social media, with a combined reach of 27.4 million impressions (with zero paid promotion). And the news struck a cord: Gronkowski’s news was parodied by The Onion, became the #3 trending topic on Twitter, and “You can call me Mr. Recovery” was featured as the Skimm’s Quote of the Day.
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