Luck of the Irish Story Goes Viral on CNN…

I have amazing St Patrick’s Day memories: walking down 5th Avenue in New York in the mother of all St. Patrick’s Day Parades, wearing a bright green blazer to school in the 5th grade, partying it up in college at the historic St. Louis’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade in historic Dogtown. 

These memories, however, don’t compare to what happened at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in St. Louis on March 12, 2011 when I got my first client story on CNN!  

With sayings like “Kiss me I’m Irish” and “May the luck of the Irish be with you,” its hard not to create amazing memories on St. Patrick’s Day!  This is one day we all claim the to be Irish, even if we’re not! We drink and party it up. And why not? This seems to be another great reason to throw a fun party. But, for those who are Irish, this day is even more meaningful

To set the scene, it was a cold, brisk and somewhat overcast day. I was assisting my clients, the St. Louis City Firefighters Local 73 in creating content and taking photos for their social media page. Participating in the 42nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a historic tradition in which the firefighters had participated the past 41 years.

Packed on a homemade float created from a tractor trailer bed, hundreds of firefighters and their families climbed aboard the float for what was to begin an incredible day.   With thousands of pedestrians watching, some 15-20 people deep on the parade route, this would be an exciting and eventful day for everyone.  That is, everyone but me!

About 15 minutes prior to the parade start, I was notified that one of the St. Louis City Firefighters, Paul Birtchfield, was going to propose to his long-term girlfriend. She was surrounded by family and friends on the side of the parade route just ½ mile after the official start of the parade. 

This was a HUGE PR opportunity I couldn’t pass up!  But, with only 15 minutes’ notice, how was I going to get coverage?   My first instinct was to call the three TV stations’ News Desks.  Both stations on the parade route, KSDK Channel 5 and KMOV Channel 4 took my information down and said they’d try to radio their on-site camera guys.   When I called FOX 2 News, I got an, “Are you CRAZY?  You’re asking us to get a reporter there in 15 minutes?” response.  – Yeah, I may have been a little crazy, but it’s the perfect story, and an especially positive story for my client! 

It must have been the luck of the Irish because as we approached the location of where Paul was going to propose I saw George Sells, the St. Louis FOX 2 News reporter, down the street.  I ran as hard as I could to catch him and his photographer and they graciously – after hearing the story – ran back as quickly as they could to capture the important moment on camera.

Birchfield ProposalWell, with a feel-good story like this, George couldn’t help but to air the story with the headline, “It wasn’t a Pot of Gold found at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it was a Diamond Ring.” 

Later that night, I started receiving calls from Paul, his family members and members of the St. Louis City Firefighters.  They told me they were receiving calls from Hawaii, Arkansas, California and New York from people who saw Paul’s proposal on CNN highlighting the St. Louis’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

As a small boutique PR company who started just 2 years earlier, this was the first national story where Chemistry Multimedia, by the luck of the Irish, got a story nationally broadcasted multiple times over the next 48 hours.  This was to become the first of many national stories our firm has helped place throughout multiple networks.

So, as the arrival of this years St. Patrick’s Day nears, and looking back at the great memories created on this day, I would have to testify that getting one of my clients on CNN as the lead St. Patrick’s Day story ranks as the best.  We look forward to making many more positive memories for our clients, but this was a fun story! 

NOTE: We searched for the story online but since the story aired 5 years ago, the story archives were deleted on both FOX 2 News and CNN.