Continental PR campaign wins APRC award

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Continental Automotive Systems, a unit of Continental AG, and its public relations firm John Bailey & Associates Inc. (JB&A) captured the first place award for Excellence in Trade Media Relations, presented at the third annual Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC) Excellence in Automotive PR Awards competition.

The award was presented at the APRC annual spring conference. The awards are the only one of their kind specifically dedicated to recognizing excellence in automotive public relations, notes Continental. They are designed to help identify programs that have successfully addressed an automotive-related public relations issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness.

The annual awards honor complete public relations agendas that incorporate sound research, planning, execution and evaluation.

Continental and JB&A earned the award based on their efforts during Continental's nationwide "Safely There" tour. Designed to generate national awareness of electronic stability control, or ESC, the tour was anchored by a 37-ton mobile exhibit, replete with a hydraulic 3-D simulator, interactive driving kiosks and talking touch screens.

ESC technology significantly improves vehicle stability in all three primary areas of vehicle performance, says Continental. They are accelerating, cornering and braking.

Using electrical sensors strategically placed throughout the vehicle, the system analyzes steering wheel activity, wheel speeds, acceleration and the vehicle's rotation about its vertical axis and continually analyzes this data to determine whether the actual course of the vehicle corresponds to the desired direction. By braking individual wheels and reducing engine torque, it automatically corrects understeer and oversteer, and helps keep vehicles on the road.

Continental and JB&A organized and executed a comprehensive media relations campaign from July through December 2003, which included tours of the exhibit and ride-and-drive demonstrations for media. The program was designed to inform the media, and ultimately consumers, of the life-saving benefits of ESC, while spotlighting Continental as a leading manufacturer of stability control technology.

The program began with a kick-off on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., moved across the country on a 15-city tour, and culminated in an appearance at the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.

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