JJR – A Team of Risk Takers

By: Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz


We are risk-takers. Risk-taking is nothing new at JJR. A good example of this is a challenge we faced last year.

Transformational Growth Partners (TGP), a high-performance coaching firm, originally came to JJR Marketing to launch its business with a new website and media relations. The owners then asked JJR to help them with a special project—a Kickstarter campaign for a book they were co-authoring with noted Top Fuel Kalitta Motorsports Crew Chief, James “Jim O.” Oberhofer.

The challenge was to raise funds for the creation of this book through a 30-day Kickstarter campaign. The target goal was to raise $47,000. If the campaign failed, JJR would not be compensated. Our agency took on this campaign and it was indeed a risk but, without a doubt, we knew that we could make this happen and so we took on the challenge.

Rather than putting one or two people on this project, we assigned a team of seven people to write the video script; film and produce a video; design the Kickstarter page; write content and conduct an aggressive direct marketing and public relations campaign.

We first created the initial deliverables needed to help market the book on the Kickstarter website, including the working title of the book (“Top Fuel: Lessons from a Crew Chief”); the design of the book cover; related covers and banners to use on all social media accounts; a summary description of the content of the book; and creation of a two-minute video featuring Jim O making a personal appeal to support the project. We provided the video strategy, outline, script and creative direction through production and final editing.

Since prizes are essential to an effective Kickstarter campaign, we worked with the Kalitta staff to secure a cache of exciting items aimed at the racing enthusiast. Incentives ranged from a wristband or decal for a $5 donation to a $7,500 ultimate VIP Weekend for two with airfare and hotel to a 2015 race, a starting line experience and a driver meet and greet.

Just before the launch, Kalitta, TGP and the JJR team developed a short list of “ambassadors,” or invested individuals who could help promote the campaign through their circle of influence, personal appeals and posts on social media networks. We produced a comprehensive editorial calendar for the 30 days of the campaign, with at least one daily Twitter post featuring photographs from racing or Jim O’s family. Calendar items were shared with the ambassadors for their personal use.

We also provided our signature media relations for the campaign which produced an engaging press release and secured nationwide media coverage. We also secured sponsorship with Kicktraq, a site that promotes new Kickstarter campaigns. We kept all “ambassadors” appraised regularly of the progress towards our goal.

Finally, JJR took advantage of Kalitta’s special events taking place during the campaign. We produced promotional postcards for onsite distribution by Kalitta staff that included a QR code directing readers directly to the Kickstarter campaign page.

In the end, we had unqualified success! Within the allotted 30 days, we shattered our $47,000 goal to raise $53,771 for the book with 229 backers. Within the first day of the campaign we raised over $2,000. We received our first $5,000 sponsor on the third day and we raised 33 percent of our goal within the first eight days.

This spring, JJR and TGP’s hard work was recognized at the Publicity Club of Chicago’s 2016 “Golden Trumpet Awards.” The teams won the prestigious Silver Trumpet Award in the Marketing + Consumer category.

Do not be afraid to take risks in life or in your business. The JJR team took a risk and it was met with success. Most importantly, the team went above and beyond for our client and truly made it happen.

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