What Does a PR Agency Do? Pepper Festival

By Posted in - Awards & Case Studies on January 31st, 2017

More exposure and higher attendance were the desires of the Briar Chapel marketing team as it planned its 8th Annual Pepper Festival to support North Carolina agriculture. Briar Chapel is the largest master-planned green community in North Carolina and part of Newland Communities, the country’s most prominent privately held residential real estate developer. It turned to Clairemont Communications to achieve these goals and draw potential homebuyers on-site.

The Strategy

Clairemont faced the challenge of engaging busy media with an overall dwindling interest in annual festivals and one located nearly an hour’s drive from the community. We established an event strategy with target audiences of local media and influencers and area residents with interests in new homes, local foods and sustainable agriculture to drive attendance for the Pepper Festival.


Our creativity spiced up the festival, securing record coverage and top attendance for this one-day, local event.

  • The People Behind the Pepper: Hosted on-site at Briar Chapel, the Pepper Festival features local culture, food, music and art, while inviting the community to support North Carolina agriculture. For the festival’s eighth year, Clairemont told the story of the people behind the pepper. We dubbed the festival founder as “The Pepper Queen” and touted the fact that her vision now funded more than 200 local farmers due in part to the festival’s success. Farm tours gave reporters the chance to experience the farmers’ stories, interview Briar Chapel partners and highlight the appeal of the festival.
  • Hot Media: We invited key members of the media who personally enjoy spicy dished and craft brews to serve as food and beer judges, and secured attendance from seven prestigious reporters from print, radio, blog and TV outlets that directly correlated to resulting media coverage. Clairemont also sent journalists pepper-themed materials, including news releases, fact sheets, media alerts and pitches that incorporated highly themed verbiage.
  • Event Logistics: Clairemont provided on-site support for the Pepper Festival and served as concierges for the media and judges. We crafted judging criteria, provided media kits, escorted media members through a festival tour and oversaw the judging, the emcee of the event and the awards presentation.


After turning up the heat on the 8th Annual Pepper Festival, Clairemont exceeded each of its objectives and produced the following results:

  1. Clairemont secured a total of 13 blog posts and nine news stories, which included two stories in the area’s largest newspaper, the News & Observer, and a full blog with Triangle Explorer. For the first time in Pepper Festival history, we secured television coverage – both pre-event stories and on-site interviews – and a feature article in a long-lead magazine.
  2. We bolstered Briar Chapel’s online visibility by securing third-party social media mentions from bloggers and reporters on social media to approximately 200,000 combined followers on Twitter alone.
  3. Clairemont boosted ticket sales more than seven percent.

Clairemont’s strategic plan and creative tactics revitalized the Pepper Festival, garnering record attendance of 1,500 people. Additionally, Briar Chapel’s marketing manager declared the event was the tipping point for many homebuyers already considering a home purchase at Briar Chapel and the impetus for increased on-site and online visits by those just beginning a new home search. Moreover, Clairemont broke through the barriers with media and influencers – distance and lack of interest – to generate event excitement and news coverage that will continue to benefit North Carolina agriculture and drive consideration for Briar Chapel as a new home community long after the 8th Annual Pepper Festival.

The work Clairemont Communications conducted in partnership with Briar Chapel earned an Honorable Mention in Total Campaign from the Raleigh Public Relations Society and an Honorable Mention for Events & Observances from the North Carolina Public Relations Society of America. We are proud that this campaign represents two of the 137 awards we’ve received since starting Clairemont in 2010. To read more about the work we do with clients, please visit the case study section of our blog.

Image courtesy of Briar Chapel. 



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