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BOSTON A Betsey Johnson runway show at the Cyclorama on Saturday night raised funds for the South End Community Health Center’s breast cancer prevention programs. The designer, who attended the benefit in a frothy, bright-pink skirt, has a personal connection to the cause, and to the host organization: Johnson is a breast-cancer survivor, and her brother Bob Johnson is the center's executive director.
Fortunato Consulting Group produced the affair, which has raised $150,000 to date. Final sums will be tallied on October 31, when the raffle for a branded vehicle from Kelly Fiat ends. The event drew more than 400 guests, thanks to “a strong marketing outreach program,” said Darcy Pfeifer, vice president of the consulting group.
In the weeks leading up to the fund-raiser, organizers focused on marketing tactics that ranged from mailed save-the-dates to light pole banners on Newbury and Tremont Streets. Shopping Web site RueLaLa offered tickets to 300,000 area customers, and a billboard on Highway 93 broadcast the event's details in bright pink hues. During a pre-event news conference, Mayor Thomas Menino purchased the first $50 raffle ticket for the Fiat, which bears the logos for the health center and the designer. And at Copley Mall, sandwich boards advertised the fete to shoppers and lunching office workers.
“Then, there was Facebook,” Pfeifer said. “Betsey did a ton of posts, including her video of her getting ready for the show, which many [Facebook users] reposted. The image of the wrapped Fiat on Betsey's site got over 530 likes and 49 comments—high numbers for Betsey.” Organizers used Twitter to spread the word as well.
The Event Farm invite helped track the effectiveness of each method. “Each purchaser, when they checked out online, let us know how they learned about the show,” Pfiefer said. Though final number and stats will be revealed in the next few weeks, in the days before the event Pfiefer said that word of mouth attracted the highest number of ticket sales.